Weekly Fave!

Pearl Cardigan – Anthropologie

I noticed this classic, ladylike Pearl Cardigan on the Anthropologie site; one of my favorite clothing stores. If you like DIY projects, this might be a great one, and you don’t have to be a knitter to obtain this look. Pearl beads on garments is a hot trend for Fall/Winter 2017. You could either purchase a basic cardigan or knit one up, then attach the beads. Either way, I think a mohair blend with silk, or fine alpaca or merino wool would be a good yarn choice. If you know how to knit with beads, and the yarn isn’t too thick, knitting in the pearls is a doable option. I may give this DIY a try and create my own beaded look.

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Weekly Fave!

Risin’ Sun Cardigan by Wool and the Gang

Close-up Risin’ Sun Cardigan

Wool and the Gang’s story is about bringing back knitting as a means of producing unique fashion in a sustainable way. Most of their designs consist of basic pattern stitches and simple construction without much detail; perfect for beginners. But sometimes you just want to knit more than just a simple basic. This Risin’ Sun Wrap Cardigan by Wool and the Gang is more than simple. Drape is created by the extended back detail, and by the voluminous alpaca/merino blend yarn. I love its look!

Weekly Fave!

Cardigan Coat + Vest by Purl Soho

Close-up neck detail

I’m always looking for the perfect cardigan, and this vintage-like design by Purl Soho is one to wear again and again. It’s knit in Purl Soho’s Worsted Twist, a classic merino wool. What’s great is this cardigan + vest is sized for both children and adults.

You Don’t Need To Pay An Obscenely High Price For Quality Clothing

From In Style October 2017 – Brunello Cucinelli Design

I enjoy the hand of luxurious, expensive, and embellished fabrics. Just as an art lover enjoys the experience of an exhibit, I appreciate the beauty of an exquisitely made textile. Designer names like Etro, Dolce Gabbana, Prada, and Gucci use some of the most beautiful fabrics in the world for their couture and ready-to-wear collections, but these collections are sold at prices out of reach for most people.

Designer prices are often extremely expensive. Case in point this sweater by Brunello Cucinelli. I was lucky enough to be in Vancouver recently, perusing the beautiful Fall 2017 Collections in Holt Renfrew. I came acorss the Brunello Cucinelli boutique selling expensive sweaters like this one featured in In Style’s October 2017 issue. My first thought – “I could make it.” If you are an experienced knitter I’m sure you have said this many times.

Brunello Cucinelli is known as the “King of Cashmere” and the manufacturer of luxury sportswear and “high quality” knits. I agree with his business philosophy, that too much cheap product is sold in the world, so he focuses on expensive designs made by highly skilled workers. His plant is in Solomeo, Italy; his company is socially conscious, and Cucinelli’s collections are produced on site. It would be difficult to sustain this business model in most parts of world, as Italy has a long history of skill in manufacturing luxurious textiles and yarns, and only a small percentage of people can afford such luxury.

However, there is a point where an extremely high price doesn’t dictate the quality and skill. Don’t get me wrong, you often do get what you pay for, but an exorbitant price isn’t indicative of quality. Price does have the power to change your perception of a product, because the notion of “quality” is perceived, and has a different meaning for every consumer. My philosophy is to pay more for “quality”, because I’ll get my money’s worth over time. Because I am knowledgeable about fabrics and construction, I am able to discern if a garment is well made and worth the expense. There are many skilled people who can make quality garments at lower price points. The price factor plays a part in determining quality (generally the more details added in construction and the use of fine fabrics made of natural fibers, the higher the price); but price is not the only indicator of quality. 

I can’t afford such a price tag for a sweater, but even if I could I wouldn’t. If you are lucky enough to spend the money, go for it, but if you’re skilled in making garments, you realize that you can knit or sew pieces of high quality with sustainable materials, skill, and attention to detail without the extreme price. When purchasing woven fabrics or hand knit materials, I look at the fibers and yarns used, skill, and attention to detail. How are the seams sewn? Dangling threads? Nylon thread used for hems? How are the embellishments attached? Natural vs synthetic fibers (I would never pay a high price for a synthetic)? Care required to maintain its beauty? These are some of the questions I think about when determining quality.

Because of our over-consumption of mass produced goods, I think North America has lost an appreciation for the beauty and quality of textiles, and the skill required to turn raw materials into a luxurious product. But paying an excessively high price tag isn’t necessary to have quality clothing. There are many designers, and you, the skilled knitter or sewer that can create garments of quality, by paying attention to the source and type of materials, skill, longevity, and attention to detail. Why not make your own luxury at a cost that won’t break the bank.

Weekly Fave!

Lykke Sweater – Knitscene Winter 2017

Summing up the latest Knitscene Winter 2017 are knits for cozy, comfortable living, as defined by the Scandinavian lifestyle “Hygge“. The cozy styling of the Lykke Sweater is my pick for the cold winter months. This issue is packed with projects geared towards all things comfortable to knit for home, family, and friends.

Weekly Fave!

Design #23 Vogue Knitting Holiday 1987 Classic Men’s Turtleneck

Classic pieces of clothing are the best investment of time and money. A classic is as timely and fashionable as when it was first introduced. Think the LBD, a string of pearls, jeans, trench coat, and a knit twin set – the list is long. It doesn’t mean pulling out something old and wearing it again – it must have a fresh look to modernize it.

Timeless is how I feel about this men’s turtleneck from Vogue Knitting Magazine Holiday 1987, which I made for my husband. And now he wants another one! It certainly is fashionable for Fall 2017, with its simple argyle pattern, turtleneck, and the color of the season, red. It defines a true classic.

Weekly Fave!

One of the Eight Churchmouse Classics – Slouchy Pullover

This beautiful easy, lightweight pullover, is knit in one of the best mohair blends in the marketplace, Rowan’s Kidsilk Haze, a combination of silk and mohair. The silk adds a brilliant sheen and a relaxed drape. This Slouchy Pullover is one of the eight classics designed by Churchmouse Yarns for Fall 2017. You could certainly have this knit up quickly to enjoy this fall.