Shaded Flower fair isle cardigan is progressing. Still there are two sleeves to go!
I have been slower to finish this project, as I am working on my own design, true to my New Year’s resolutions this year. The pullover I am working on will have bust darts incorporated into the design so that it will be easy to expand the bust area as much as anyone wants to accommodate their shape without changing the pattern—I am very excited about it! I got excited about knitting when I realized it was a great medium to tailor clothes to my figure in a flattering way and I am thinking about creating some patterns that are figure flattering that others might benefit from as well.
Perhaps it was my visit to Paris, where I found myself surrounded by so many beautiful creations by others hands, that made me feel that it is time to design something of my own. There even chocolate making is elevated to a form of high art.
Above you see a sculpture of two hippos made entirely of chocolate carved by Patrick Roger. He displays his life size chocolate carvings in the windows of his tiny boutiques in the chic quartiers of Paris. There are inspirations to be found everywhere in modern day Paris, but I am most fascinated by the luxury craftsmanship that began under the reign of Louis XIV. The king shrewdly established France as the founder of the luxury goods industry in Europe through his patronage of ceramics (The Sèvres Porcelain factory), tapestries and furniture (The Gobelins workshops) and so much more. For anyone who is interested in this topic, I recommend the book, The Essence of Style: How the French Invented High Fashion, Fine Food, Chic Cafés, Style, Sophistication and Glamour by Joan DeJean. Highlights of the book describe the invention of celebrity hair stylists, spike-heeled shoes, boutiques and the elevation of diamonds to pre-eminent importance in France during the reign of Louis XIV.
For those of us living in San Francisco, the current exhibit showing at the Legion of Honor provides an exciting opportunity to see the King’s luxuries first hand. The personal furniture and luxury items belonging to King Louis XIV, XV and XVI, as well as Marie Antoinette are on display there.
I was astounded by the beauty of the cups, carved from gemstones, the Sèvres porcelain, and best of all, the collection of snuff boxes studded with diamonds or ornamented with portraits of royalty. The novel I am currently writing, which takes place in the first decade of 1800 features a rare snuff box from Versailles as a clue, and it was marvelous to get ideas of what that snuff box might have actually looked like from examining the treasures of the Louvre. The exhibit runs until mid March.