A bit of frogging took place.

I knitted this jumper many, many years ago and the time has come for it to be recycled.

The pattern was knitted at a time when things were loose and bulky and that look is definitely not in anymore.

The jumper looks dirty in the photo but it was just shadows. The colour is also not true as it is a denim blue colour.

I have now frogged the jumper and just need to wash it in skeins and then start another project.

I am not sure what I will knit.  Perhaps I will use the wool as the border for the crocheted hexagon rug I plan to make with all my left over bits of wool.

Tartan and Tweed

One of my recent borrowings from the local library was this wonderful book entitled Tartan and Tweed.

Tartan and Tweed, a well illustrated book, gives the history of tartan and tweed from their beginnings in the Scottish Highlands to their popularity and use in contemporary fashion design, music, art and film.

When they were talking about personalities and their use of tartan I was tempted to Google the Vogue cover to see the actual illustration that was mentioned in the book as Ewan Mcgregor is one of my favourite actors.

“Both tweed and tartan are fabrics with a strong cultural identity and history. But they have been reinvented to create multiple meanings, particularly when used in street fashions and in haute couture to mimic or parody the aristocracy, and to act as a subversive symbol of rebellion. . . . . It follows the early popularity of tartan and tweed including the fabrics’ connections from crofters and clans to aristocracy, and looks at tweed’s dramatic recovery during an economic crisis and its subsequent re-invention as desirable luxury fashion fabric.

The book explores the use of tartan and tweed in fashion in the collections of leading designers including Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen and Chanel who have used these textiles in a fresh, subversive way.

I am now searching for biographies of the various designers mentioned as this book has sparked my interest.  I have read Coco Chanel’s biography but will search out the others.

Here are a couple of interesting quotes from the book:

“Maybe part of the reason behind tartan’s eternal popularity is that it’s a fabric for both the Establishment and the rebel.”  (p 54 Tartan + Tweed)

“Tartan is a lot more than misty glens, bagpipes, haggis and shortbread – it can be rebellious, masculine and cool.  Its colours can be loud or harmonious, autumnal or vivid.  It’s a fabric for musicians, pop stars and coquettes, for fashionable 1950s New Yorkers or Shoreditch hipsters, and it has transcended its origins as a fabric of the Highlands to reach out around the world. . . . .It would be reasonable to say it’s the most politicized of cloths – there is no other fabric that acts as such a nationalistic symbol for a particular country while also evoking countless meanings and interpretations.” ( p 54 Tartan + Tweed)   

I have mentioned the use of tartan in a previous post a few years back.  It also gives you a look at some modern kilts.

A shirt from an old pattern I had used in times long gone

I had bought this fabric when I bought the Ikat fabric and I thought I would make a shirt dress with it but then decided I would just make a shirt.  I had a pattern I had used many years ago and so cut out the fabric using that pattern.

It was all going beautifully until I came to the part where it said try the shirt on as you may need to adjust the side seams as the shirt pattern is in a full style.  I tried the shirt on and it literally floated on me.  I knew I would need to do some serious adjustments.  I have obviously changed shape since I last made this shirt and the floppy style is no longer my style.

I had to adjust the  side seams by at least 3 cms on each side seam and that was a huge amount of fabric.  If I use this pattern again I will make it in a smaller size but I think I will probably just buy a new shirt pattern that will be in the modern style.

Where did you get that hat?

We recently had one of our granddaughters visiting us and we enjoyed seeing her unbridled enthusiasm.

I know I love visiting Spotlight, our local haberdashery store, but our granddaughter took us to parts of the store that I haven’t ventured into.  She loved all the bright shiny things and was carrying around her pretend money as if she was doing her shopping.  She kept her grandpa amused as he was in charge while my daughter and I checked out the fabrics.

She returned wearing this fetching little number.

Do you like my hat?I love it when our children and grandchildren visit.  I am blessed.

The Victoria and Albert Museum. . . . . . Tuesday Travels

The first year we visited London in 2003 we were only there for a few days and we managed to cram lots of tourist activities into that time.  One of the museums that we didn’t manage to visit was the V&A so I put that to right this time around.  While based in Swindon I caught the train to London and found my way to the museum without any bother.

I had allocated the full day to the museum as I knew I would need it.  I was certainly not disappointed that I had allowed that much time.  The museum has so much to see and the only disappointment was that the furniture gallery was closed for the day and that was one of the galleries I was interested in viewing.  I will need to make a return visit one day!

One of the exhibitions that was being held was Undressed – a brief history of underwear.

UndressedThe exhibition was inclusive of dress as well as underwear so there was a great deal to see.

The cast courts you can read about here if you click on the picture.  Amazing that some of these casts are the only life size replicas of items that have been damaged or destroyed.

plaster galleryTrajan's Column AD 113The Hereford Screen is a wonderful example of the restoration work done for the museum. Hereford ScreenExamples of the state of the parts of the screen before restoration were on display.

pre-restorationThe theatre and performance galleries were a delight to browse through.  I loved that I was able to see a model of the scenery for the musical Matilda and the costume for the lead singer of Adam and the Ants.

MatildaAdam's costumeAdam and the AntsIt was great to see a nod to a part of Melbourne in the architecture section.Nice to see a bit about Melbourne! In the glassware gallery some Iittalia glassware which was very popular around the time we were married.  We still have two sets of glasses intact.

Iittalia glasswareI finished off my trip with lunch in the cafe.  It was a beautiful day and many families were enjoying the sunshine in the courtyard.

V&AWhen in London a visit to the V&A is a must on your list.

Is your wardrobe in crisis?

Wardrobe crisisWe were in Melbourne recently and when there I always visit the bookshops.  I have been fairly good this year in limiting my book buying and tend to use the library more frequently but I couldn’t pass up the chance to go to the bookshops and of course there were books I wanted to buy.

This particular book was one that I had listed in my notes of books I wanted to read.  I had seen a review for it in a catalogue for summer reading!  We are now heading into winter.

“Who makes your clothes?  This used to be an easy question to answer: it was the seamstress next door or the tailor on the high street – or you made them yourself.  Today we rarely know the origins of the clothes hanging in our closets. The local shoemaker, dressmaker and milliner are long gone, replaced by a globalised fashion industry worth $1.5 trillion a year.

In Wardrobe Crisis, fashion journalist, Clare Press explores the history and ethics behind what we wear.  Putting her insider status to good use, Press examines the entire fashion ecosystem from sweat shops to haute couture, unearthing the roots of today’s buy-and-discard culture.  She traces the origins of icons like Chanel, Dior and Hermès; charts the rise and fall of the department store; and follows the thread that led us from Marie Antoinette to Carrie Bradshaw.”

I loved this book.  It was a real revelation for me about what is involved in the fashion industry and made me realise that we are all indeed slaves to fashion though we may not realize it.

I learnt a great deal while reading this book and it is interesting to note that in the last few books I have read there has been mention of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.  Her writings are still relevant in many aspects of our world today. If you haven’t read that book it is one you should read now.

If you are interested in fashion or how your clothes are produced then this is certainly a book worth reading.  As I said, I loved it.