There was a truly spectacular fireworks display in San Francisco last night. The photo above is courtesy of SFgate.:
By midnight, I was safely home snuggled onto the couch with my husband, a warm blanket, and two soft little white kittens while braver folks stood out in the cold and took photos like the one above. Was it me or was the Dick Clarke New Years Eve television extravaganza stupider than usual? Anyway, we were happy to forgo the endless footage of Miley Cyrus with her odd entourage and instead watch the local news team in San Francisco. It was amusing to watch California revelers unused to the cold shivering on the rooftop of the Hotel Vitale across from the historic Ferry Building which served as a backdrop for the unbelievable fireworks display.
The arcs of dazzling light conjured up visions of limitless possibilities and a new year filled with hope. Before setting down my resolutions for 2014, I thought I should revisit those from 2013 to see how I did. Here is what I wrote on New Years day a year ago:
“I am challenging myself to design 5 custom sweater patterns in 2013 instead of knitting the work of trusty designers I know will not fail. Sounds risky? I am raising the stakes even more by challenging myself to put aside my fear of knitting with beads! Fair isle? Yes to that as well. Perhaps I will even venture into steeking, but I am not sure that is necessary as the flat construction is working so well.”
I ended up ruling out the steeking goal so let’s evaluate how I did with my three core goals as written above:
<![ 1) Design 5 custom sweater patterns in 2013:
Result? One beaded pullover with bust darts completely designed from scratch, which is not posted or photographed as I am hoping to write the pattern and submit it for publication when I have the energy. 1/5 is not substantial so I think I do not get credit for this one.
<! 2) Put aside my fear of knitting with beads:
Result? Two completed beaded sweaters this year. I deserve credit for this as beading has always really intimidated me. And the sweaters turned out really well!
<! 3) Put aside my fear of knitting fair isle:
Result? Two completed fair isle sweaters. I think my Dinky Pull and Shaded Flower are some of the favorite sweaters I have ever made. Yes! Success!
Hmm, two out of three isn’t bad success for new Years resolutions! According to the website, statisticsbrain.com
only 8% of New Years resolutions are typically kept. So at 75% I think I did pretty well!
For 2014, my first focus will obviously be on healing activities and foods to improve my current health situation. But that is not what this blog is about so I’ll get right down to my 3 knitting resolutions:
<![ 1. Knit two thirds of my projects from stash in 2014
I am so lucky to have received my yarn prize that this stash knitting resolution will not be as difficult. In addition, winter knits are so much more compelling for me that I do tend to keep on knitting those projects well into spring. We will see however how well my discipline sticks six months from now when all the new patterns for Fall/Winter 2014 are coming out! And I will give myself dispensation to buy yarn at the outrageous yarn market during Stitches West to assemble the yarn for a new Chanel-style jacket.
<! <! 2. Overcome my Fear of Knitting Plaid!
Plaid is a huge trend for Fall/Winter 2014 and I have always loved tartan designs because of my Scottish heritage. My interest in exploring designer textile techniques also points me in the plaid direction. Chanel has some stunning plaid fabrics this season. Here is my favorite from their pre-fall winter collection this year:
Thanks to the Ravelry forum posters in the Anthropologie knits Plaid thread, I have learned a diverse array of techniques for knitting plaid. Of course the knitting of the horizontal stripes is not the problem. The question is how to create the vertical lines? I have learned the techniques range from the use of embroidery, a crochet hook, fair isle and intarsia. I would like to use at least three of those techniques this year even if I only apply them to baby blanket squares. I will blog about my experiences using the techniques and post the photos here.
<! <! 3. Improve the Structure of my Knitted Garments
This is the big one! I will be attempting to acquire at least some rudimentary sewing knowledge that can be applied to perfecting my knitted garments' collars, construction and fit.
For the past few years I have blogged about my attempts to pay tribute to designer knit jackets by great geniuses such as Chanel. As far as recreating a designer textile was concerned I think my success was pretty good.
However, I was not satisfied with the construction of my silk-lined jackets. The fabric I created for Coco is beautiful but I discovered after hand-lining it with silk that knowledge about collar construction and garment drape would have helped me create a better garment. I am still not content with the way that the garment hangs on my body when it is worn.
This year I will be creating a clear distinction between my knit wear and my couture wear projects.
Knit wear= unlined hand-knitted cardigans, draped jackets and pullovers to be worn every day. These pieces will be fitted close to the body and allowed to drape like normal knitwear.
Couture wear = knitted cardigans constructed with additional positive ease to accomodate a silk lining. Fingering weight yarns will be used to eliminate bulk as lining makes garments heavier and I must also choose materials to make a matching trim. These cardigans will be hand-quilted with silk to be worn on formal business or dressy occasions.
Any knitted garment that is designated couture wear will become a more intentional project focusing on garment construction foundations. For my Christmas gift to myself, I purchased some sewing patterns from Claudia Shaeffer’s Couture collection which is inspired by designers such as Chanel and Armani and Yves Saint Laurent. I will make a toile or muslin mockup of at least one of these jacket patterns in 2014. The next step will be to hire either a tailor or sewing instructor to fit the toile to my body properly. Then I will knit my pieces to follow this pattern shape, hand-quilt a silk lining to each individual piece, assemble the garment, and then add a hand-made trim using couture sewing techniques. To assist me in these efforts I have assembled the following tools:
<![ 1. Claire Shaeffers’ Custom Couture Collection pattern V8804
2. Claire Shaeffer’s book Couture Sewing: The Couture Cardigan Jacket, Sewing secrets from a Chanel Collector.
3. Introductory Moulage class at Eddie’s Quilting Bee. This is a beginning pattern drafting class which will hopefully help me a bit to understand garment construction
Happy New Years everyone! Best wishes to you in all your creative endeavors in 2014!