Pollen

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I have been working like crazy to get ready for the Small Press Expo in Bethesda, MD—I’m lucky to have a table again this year and I need to be on top of my game. I’ll be selling copies of my comic “Honey”, as well as hopefully one or two zines, buttons, and even some screen printed totebags. If you’ve never been to SPX and are in the area September 13 and 14, it’s worth coming for at least an hour. There is truly something for everyone there!

That being said, my boyfriend Erik and I realized we had not been to the beach once this summer, so I am pausing my preparations to take a two-day vacation to Ocean City tomorrow. Hopefully the weather will be as advertised!

I’m nearly done the front of my Rocky Pond top, but I’ve decided to put it into hibernation until the spring. What I need to focus on now, knitting wise, is cold-weather garments.  If you ever want to spend $200 and have a giant shipping crate full of yarn arrive at your door, I highly recommend the Craftsy Black Friday sale. I have enough yarn to keep me knitting for the next several years! This sunny yellow worsted-weight wool yarn was from last year’s sale, and I knew what sort of project I wanted to use it for—something fitted, with an all over seed-stitch pattern. Sadly for me, yellow is SO not my color (something about not wearing a color that is the same value as both your skin and hair) so I need to be able to wear it with a deep blue scarf to keep it from making my face look sallow. I came close with Harrison by Amy Miller, but that cowl neck presents a problem for wearing a scarf. Not to mention the fit and length aren’t ideal, and the seed stitch is only on the front.

I’ve already re-designed one vintage sweater, my Koi-colored victory sweater from this post. I changed the gauge from fingering to sport weight, and was happy with the result (I’ll do a post tackling this simple alteration soon).

So last night I picked a suitable fair-isle 1940s sweater, wrote out the instructions, whipped up a gauge swatch, rewrote the pattern, and thus “Pollen” was born. It’s worked flat and seamed, and has a five button closure at the back. If the sweater is a success I’ll look into grading it so others can try it out. The yarn I’m using, Cascade 220, is delightfully stiff and springy, perfect for a nubbly textured pattern. In yellow it’s cheerful and eccentric, but I could see “Pollen” becoming sophisticated and a little mysterious in cool greys and blacks.

Maybe I’ll see you at SPX next month, but if not have a wonderful end to your summer!

 

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Victory + Rocky Pond

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Above: my completed Victory Sweater, modeled at the opening party of my LYS in their new location. I can’t wait until the weather cools down so I can wear it with all my nice wool skirts.

Below: progress on my “Rocky Pond” top. The pyramid pattern is so beautiful but it was tough to get comfortable with. I still have to have my ipad open with the chart on the screen when I’m working on it.

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What projects are you currently working on?

Looking forward to fall

I know, it’s been months. Blogging used to come really easy to me, back when it was just an LJ and no one besides my friends read it. Keeping up a fashion/crafting blog is so much harder! What topics should I write about? What is there to say that hasn’t already been said? Who honestly cares what I think about anything? Is what I have to say relevant anymore?

Since my last post I have:

  • Finished the Knit for Victory sweater I was knitting (it is slowly drying on the blocking rack)
  • Sewn a muslin for the Advance 5911 top in the last post; I can’t really tell if it fits me around the shoulders/upper bust area
  • Found my Spoonflower swatch book, so I can start thinking about designing custom fabric again.
  • Resumed knitting my Rocky Pond silk/rayon summer top after finally untangling a massive snarl in the very snaggy yarn (feels like a silk stocking and snags just as bad)

That doesn’t seem like a whole lot :/ Part of it is due to the fact that I’ve been working late and then I only have the energy to knit in front of the TV, and I’ve been busy with various obligations on the weekends. Illustration is a really demanding life! But I *think* about fashion pretty much every moment of the day. So I’m going to commit to doing at least one post a week to start, even if I have nothing to show when it comes to my own projects. There’s still plenty to talk about!

Fall : sweater piles, scarves, and hot drinks

Today I want to talk about how this is the first year of my life I’ve truly looked forward to Fall returning. Everyone can admit things tend to slow down in the knitting world over the summer; my local yarn store feels the lack of traffic and the ravelry forums go quiet. Since I’ve started knitting I’ve begun to enjoy the thought of cold weather again; it doesn’t seem like an unbearable stretch of the year to suffer through anymore. Nothing can compare to the warmth of wool garments! Baltimore usually has a long summer; things don’t really cool down until late October. But until the weather changes, at least I can enjoy the fall releases of my favorite designers!

If you knit, you probably know about Rowan. They produce luxury yarns and put out collections each season. They’re known for the quality of their product and the beauty of their pattern books. My favorite designer at Rowan is Marie Wallin. She consistently puts out designs that speak to me, and it doesn’t hurt that they are photographed so exquisitely.

Her latest lookbook is called “Lakeland: Collection Two”, and she doesn’t disappoint. I love any photoshoot that allows me to fantasize about being an Irish shepherdess! The yarn used looks incredible, I wish I could touch each piece. I’m not crazy about the crochet details, but fortunately they are very optional. My queue is full enough that I won’t be buying yarn for a very long time, but lookbooks like these inspire me to work through the projects on my plate so I can get to these sooner!

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What projects and designers make you excited for the coming Fall?

What This is All About

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Who am I?

My name is Celine Loup. I’m an illustrator and comics artist, living in Baltimore, MD.

How did I become interested in vintage fashion?

Fashion has been a part of my life from the start. My father is an opera singer, and so understanding the importance of costume was part of my upbringing. My mother has always had elegant taste, and sitting beside her after her shower at her vanity and watching her go through her beauty rituals is still a childhood memory that instantly makes me feel warm and safe.  My mother was an excellent mother and home-maker, as was her mother, who taught her how to sew and knit. My mother loves watching classic movies, and I think I absorbed her appreciation of the fashion in them slowly over the years. I took a few sewing classes as a child, and my mother helped me in high school and college to sew a few dresses as I cultivated my own sense of style, but I mostly wore storebought or thrifted clothes and had no interest in knitting.

Why start a blog?

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That all changed after series of particularly brutal winters, when I realized the cons of buying storebought clothes:

  • Subject to trends that don’t last; everything looks dated by the next year. A consumerist mentality that actually devalues the importance of fashion.
  • Inferior materials: H&M will charge $30 for a “winter sweater” that is made out of acrylic yarn, which provides very little insulation compared to natural wools.
  • Ill fitting: I am a size six, it’s very easy to find clothes that were made for my size. Even so, no mass produced garment can perfectly fit my measurements exactly, and it shows.
  • Poorly made: this almost goes without saying if you are shopping on a budget. I’ve paid $25 for a cardigan that had gaping holes in the armpits after a month of wear.
  • Unflattering: this isn’t necessarily true for many garments, but modern fashion’s overall silhouette, in my opinion, does not do me any favors.
  • Environmentally devastating garment industry practices, with a high cost in human life.

I was tired of freezing in the winter, I was tired of wearing a million sweaty thin layers because I didn’t realize that quantity is no substitute for quality, I was tired of watching all my clothes unravel in my hands. I was also tired of contributing to an unsustainable, exploitative off shore garment industry. I was tired of feeling like I had better taste than what I was wearing.  I had always meant to make more clothes, but now I realized it was the only way to go forward. I stopped buying new clothes, and instead sat down to my drafting table and, over several months, began asking myself some important questions:

  • What was important to me, in terms of building a wardrobe?
  • What lines flatter my figure best?
  • What decade features the best examples of the silhouette I wanted?
  • What specific garments were essential to my lifestyle?

I made many drawings, did a lot of research, and gained a better grasp of my practical as well as aesthetic needs. Out of this came The Winter Wardrobe Project, a plan for a hand-made capsule collection of vintage garments that serves my needs for function as well as form. I created this blog in order to document my progress through the project, as well as to document my general growth as a knitter and seamstress. I hope my process here will inspire others to re-examine their relationship to the clothes they wear, and the social, political, and ecological context in which they wear them. I live in America and am watching my country crawl its way out of a devastating recession, and believe that bringing back American textile mills and fiber industries would significantly boost our economy. I also think sewing and knitting is fun, and teaches one to really value the work that goes into doing something well.

– C