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Saturday, November 24, 2018

Ideas from the past

I find the aesthetic of a high cinched-in waist and a flared skirt (but not too flared, I don't particularly like the 1950s petticoat look) very visually pleasing and flattering on basically any body type.
For this reason, over the years, I have purchased several high waisted skirts both for summer and winter.
However, as I have been going through my wardrobe lately and letting go of items that are ruined or I find uncomfortable, I have come to realize that I don't enjoy wearing tops tucked into my skirts.
This is actually one of the positive effects of going through your clothes with a critical eye, you become more aware not only of what truly fits your style but also of what you actually enjoy wearing. Whenever I wear a top tucked in a skirt, I find myself constantly fidgeting and adjusting it throughout the day, which I find annoying resulting in me avoiding wearing the skirts altogether.
That is, until I was getting lost in the magical world of the internet going through images of vintage hand-knit items (an activity that I probably do more than is reasonable) and came across numerous images of beautiful cropped tops with cinched waistbands worn over skirts.


I had tried wearing longer sweaters over skirts in the past and cinching the waist in with a belt, and I while I did find the look pretty, it was also terribly uncomfortable, with the belt either tugging too tight at my waist (especially after lunch), or hanging loose in the front.
When I then tried wearing shorter sweaters over my skirts I realized it looked the way I wanted it to, and without all the fuss of a tucked-in top.
However, after seeing all these beautiful images I realized I could replicate the look in summer with short tops made out of cotton or silk-blend yarns. Also, I realized that making something with a tight, stretchy waistband and a drapier style on top will result in an even prettier silhouette.


I now have a milion ideas running around in my brain of hand-knit tops, sweaters and blouses I could make for myself or for the shop following this style. I love how this look is polished and classic and the right level of vintage-inspired that doesn't make it look like a costume.
I have to finish a few projects I currently have on my needles, but soon enough I will be casting on to make something like this, both for summer and for winter.

All images via.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

F.O.: Burgundy red A-line jacket

This A-line coat is another item I made with the yarn I bought a while back and mentioned here, and I have to say I love how it turned out. The yarn is a gorgeous bouclé wool made up of 70% organic wool and 30% alpaca and I wanted to make something that was classic but casual and slightly sixties without being too over the top.
If it looks slightly big on me in the pictures it is because it's a size L so the fit isn't perfect on me.
I love the burgundy/dark dusty pink color and I am so happy I found these perfectly matching plastic buttons, I think the contrast between the shiny buttons and the textured yarn works very well.
In general I think the coat turned out well, I can imagine it worn over a sweater and jeans with booties and a warm scarf for a walk in the city on a fall weekend.

As always, details on my Etsy page...






Sunday, March 18, 2018

Photoshoot

A few weeks ago, on a cold and wet Sunday afternoon, I met with the amazingly talented Maria Chiara Piglione and her gorgeous model Eleonora in a grand old industrial buiding (now used as an office) to work on a photoshoot with some of my handknit garments.
I had never seen what it's like to style and shoot an actual photoshoot, and it was so interesting to see someone who is a creative professional work with my items and create a vision, using the combination of model, garment and location to form an aesthetic that blends together her photography style, my design style and the model's beauty and presence.
I helped put together the looks but most of the time I just sat back and watched Maria Chiara and Eleonora at work, it was such a new and interesting experience for me and the results are absolutely stunning, here are some of my favorites...















Visit Maria Chiara's website to see more of her amazing work, or follow her on facebook or instagram...

Saturday, January 6, 2018

F.O.: Light gray sweater with lace panel

A few years ago I went with two friends up to northern Piedmont to enjoy the lake scenery and good food, and to buy amazing yarn at the company Manifattura Sesia which is based in the area.
This is the first sweater I made with the yarn I bought on that trip and it is one of those cases where I felt like keeping the sweater for myself.
But on the same day I bought a similar yarn in a creamy off-white color with which I am planning to make myself a similar version of this sweater but with a different neckline, I just have to find the time (and finish another sweater I am making for myself, because I need some discipline around here).

As always, details on my Etsy page...



Thursday, January 4, 2018

Happy 2018!

We rang in the new year at the seaside, watching the whole coast light up with fireworks all the way into the distance. It was raining and it was beautiful.
I am now back home working on a series of new projects and with a million ideas popping up in my brain.
I hope that 2018 will be the year where I get better at  managing my resources, be it time, money or mental energy.
What are your resolutions for 2018?

Manarola, Cinque Terre

Saturday, November 11, 2017

How I take care of my handknits

I wish I could say that I have a wardrobe full of handknit items made throughout the years, but I don't, or at least not yet. I have a few handmade items that I wear in heavy rotation and a list of things I want to make for myself. I have been culling my wardrobe lately and figuring out what I really enjoy wearing and what I feel comfortable in and my plan is to slowly replace my old and ruined store-bought sweaters with handknits.
Handknits almost feel like objects from another era, when things took time to make and raw materials were expensive so the objects had to be long lasting and well made. That is what I love about them. That, and the fact that they are unique pieces that I can make exactly the way I want them to be as far as color, shape, size and pattern are concerned. When properly taken care of (there have been a few accidents in the past, I have to admit) my handmade items have always stood the test of time and lasted very long.


To store the items I never hang them in my closet as this can ruin their shape, I keep them folded and add moth repellent sheets in my drawers and on my shelves to avoid finding tiny holes in them. Some people choose to store off-season items away in boxes and keep their handknits in air tight plastic bags when out of season but I have a small enough wardrobe  that I keep everything out all year, I have separate shelves/areas for warm and for cold weather items. What I do though, is I try to keep the shelves clean by regularly dusting them and wiping them down with a surface cleaner.


When it comes to washing the items, it depends on what it says on the yarn label.
(Side note: except for a few older items where this information is only written on the product listing, all the items in my shop have tiny tags on them where I add the information written on the yarn label regarding the way it has to be washed and cared for).
Depending on what the yarn label says, I divide my handknit pieces into two categories: things that have to be handwashed and things that can be machine washed. The method I use for handwashing and machine washing my items is the same both for warm weather cotton items and cold weather woolen items.

If the item has to be handwashed, I fill a basin with lukewarm (actually just barely warm) water and add a mild detergent to the water. I soak the item in the water, leave it in for a few minutes and then swirl it around a few times. Then I empty the basin and rinse the item with lots of lukewarm water making sure never to wring the item, only to squeeze it to allow the soap to get washed out without ruining the fabric.
Once all the detergent has been washed out I squeeze the item well one last time and lay it flat on a light colored, dry and clean towel. I roll the item up in the towel as if it were a falafel wrap (yum) and press it down with my hands so that the towel absorbs as much of the water as possible.
Then I place the item on a flat breathable surface to dry, usually my drying rack (I don't own a dryer, I hang all of my laundry to dry on a rack), making sure to place it in a way that doesn't alter the normal shape of the item.


If I already have clothes hanging on the rack and I am afraid that the colors of the hanging clothes might run off onto the handknit piece, I place a light colored towel underneath it to protect it.
I never hang my handknit items to dry when they are wet because they might stretch out and lose their shape because of the weight of the water. If that were to happen however, washing the item again and laying it flat to dry in its correct shape should solve the issue and bring the item back to its normal shape.
Sometimes, once the item is almost dry, I will hang it for a bit on a hanger to give it some natural drape but this is totally optional.


 As far as the machine washable items are concerned, I wash them using the quick wash 15 minute cycle (or, if I have to wash them in a washing machine that doesn't have this option, the delicate/wool cycle) and lower the spin cycle speed to 600 rpm. Also, I always adjust the temperature to 30° celsius (which is 86° fahrenheit for reference), even if the yarn label says you can go for more. I do this both to be absolutely sure not to ruin the items and to save on electricity and be a little more eco-friendly.
I use a mild detergent and fabric softener and put a little less than what the label says.
When I take the item out of the washing machine I either lay it directly to dry the same way I do with the handwashed items, or, if the piece of clothing comes out of the machine soaking wet (which can happen since the spin cycle is on low), I will do the falafel wrap thing I do with the handwashed items and then lay it flat to dry.



One last thing I'd like to mention is how to avoid having clothes that smell like a wet dog in winter and epecially in fall when the heaters aren't on yet. It's all nice and easy in summer when you can put your drying rack outside and have your clothes dry nicely in the fresh air (but make sure not to place the drying rack in direct sunlight as some yarns may lose some of their color if dried under stark sunlight), but what about those coldish humid days in early fall before the heaters are turned on?
The only thing I can suggest in this case is to space out the things on your drying rack, trying to avoid putting too many things at once on it, so that as much air as possible can flow between the items.
If it's not raining open the windows for a bit and let some fresh air come in and once the handknit item is just slightly humid and no longer wet, hang it on a clothes hanger and let it dry off completely before putting it away. This allows the item to dry quicker because there is more air flowing around it, but it should be done when the item is no longer heavy with water to avoid stretching it out.

That's all I have for you but there are many articles online on how to store and take care of handknit items that you might want to read if you want more information.
These are the methods I use and they are quite easy and not too time consuming and help me keep my handknits lasting as long as possible. Good luck!


Sunday, October 29, 2017

F.O.: White sparkly circle scarf

I added a new item to the shop today, a sparkly circle scarf made up of two different yarns used together: a lovely white merino wool and a sparkly metallized yarn.
It has a textured pattern that gives it exra thickness and it looks good both loose around the neck and wrapped around twice.
As usual, details on my etsy shop!