Tag Archives: knits

Small Scale Production

1.  Alpaca:

2. Yarn:

2. The subway:

4. Reinforcements:

4. Product:

5. A friend in need–Erin, incidentally, has a head cold:

6. Payoff

7. Karma (arrived in the mail, knit by mom from midwestern alpacas!)



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A Formula for February

It’s getting to that point in Fashion Week, and in February, for that matter, when it’s getting difficult to get dressed. When uninspired, I find it’s good to look to my friends.

One in particular, the photographer Kristen Joy Watts, seems to have a winning formula for days like this, and it was oddly mirrored on the runway Tuesday night at A Détacher. Here’s how it goes: Start with a helping of Japanese minimalism (cocoon-shaped cardigans), stir in some pretty nostalgia for American grunge (maybe a skinniest-strapped printed slipdress), and add just the slightest bit of constructed design (Marni-ish volume at the neckline).

Because I’m not tall like Kristen, or those models, this look can read more “lumpy pile of sweaters” than “touchable tower of texture” on me, but I think I may have found an answer at A Détacher: a boxy Sienna pullover with little silk tap pants over ribbed tights. (I’ll need heels.) The girls at A Détacher got their dose of color with a dash of turquoise across their eyelids, but I think I’ll stick with Kristen’s prescription and get mine from a mimosa.

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Last Stop of the Day

Last night, on my way home, I stopped by Inven.tory, where Wool and the Gang were serving up some of my favorite creature comforts: knitting, shopping, and, well, vodka.

Thanks, gang!

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Pringle’s Pretty Pictures

Like many other luxury labels, the knitwear brand Pringle of Scotland is using video to convey their message–though the movie getting all the attention might not be the one you would might expect.

You, like me, may have read about artist Ryan McGinley directing the awesome and terrifying Tilda Swinton in a short film to feature Pringle’s collection. While lovely, and very evocative of the brand’s inspirations (much like Steven Alan’s Spring 2010 movie), it’s artist David Shrigley‘s cartoon tracing the story of a sweater that’s getting all the love on YouTube. Shrigley: 42,500, McGinley: 11,900. Maybe it’s just cause the cartoon is totally charming, or maybe…just maybe, customers are more interested in materials than in marketing?

I wish I could make this a closet case study, by showing you my awesomest Pringle sweater, but I haven’t got one. There is, however, an incredible intarsia number from the ’80’s currently haunting me from the sale rack at Portia and Manny. And that little cartoon only makes me want it more.

Thanks to the ever-on-top-of-it Katharine Zarrella for pointing it out.

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A Clean, Well-Lighted Place

I went to see Breakfast at Tiffany’s at the Film Forum the other night and realized I’ve never watched the entire movie from start to finish. I absolutely loved it, and suffice to say I could identify with Ms. Golightly when she expressed her love of Tiffany’s–not so much because of the jewelry, but because I too have felt that inside certain shops, nothing bad could befall me.

On the way home from the movies, crossing SoHo, we passed Purl, the knitting shop where I bought my first skein of yarn in 2003. It was dark, silent, and freezing on Sullivan Street, but Purl was lit up like a Christmas tree.

It was the first night of the year, and I think they were doing inventory.

I stopped to peer into the window undetected for a moment before continuing to the J-Train. Incidentally, I had a project waiting for me at home, for the very fella who escorted me to the Film Forum. (Well-earned, you may be thinking, but I think he liked the movie as much as I did.) This is it–completed just a couple of days ago. Nevermind that wavy rib.

I started this in California, with the help of  Strands Knitting Studio in San Clemente.

It was a fortuitous find  on my way home from the Casa de Kathy Thrift Shop. I couldn’t resist.

Once hooked, I picked out a skein of charcoal grey Misti Alpaca yarn and the Gwyneth Paltrow-lookalike manning the store helped me work out a pattern.

Strands got me started, but I couldn’t have finished that beanie without popping by Purl, just a couple days after passing by that cold night. (It really takes a village.) I had knit myself into a bit of a corner and needed help getting the hat off the needles at the end. My stitches were too tight. As ever, one of the ladies at Purl was patiently helpful. Maybe she shook her head at me ever so slightly, but it was only as she bailed me out.

You might not believe it, but on my way across SoHo to Purl that very afternoon, for help with the project I started at Strands in San Clemente, I came across yet another amazing, and completely different knitting store.  All I wanted to do was buy the yarn to start another project, but I made myself wait, at least until the charcoal beanie was finished. Now I’m ready for my next project, and dying to return to my new find so I can tell you all about it, but it may have to wait for a day or two.

As Ms. Golightly could attest, this restlessness is exhausting.


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I Mean Business

This news made the front of The New York Times’ Business Section today:

“Although world trade declined this year because of the recession, consumers are demanding lower-priced goods and Beijing, determined to keep its export machine humming, is finding a way to deliver.”

photo from Reuters, Jianan Yu via The New York Times


David Barboza reported that American imports of Chinese knitwear (think tee shirts, sweatpants, sweaters)jumped 10% in July while imports from other developing countries plunged.

“One reason,” he wrote, “is the ability of Chinese manufacturers to quickly slash prices by reducing wages and other costs in production zones that often rely on migrant workers. Factory managers here say American buyers are demanding they do just that.”

It’s worth reading the whole article, to learn about what some of those “other costs” are. What are trade-offs are we demanding when we insist on cheaper Chinese imports?

One economist suggests the Obama administration can’t afford to speak up about China’s weak currency or trade imbalances while Beijing foots our bill by buying up U.S. debt.

The administration might be in a tough spot, but what about American consumers? Do stories like effect our choices? Do you care where your tee shirt was made?

For my part, I’m realizing the tank top I’m wearing as I write this has no tag in it. I bought it at a street booth in Rio de Janeiro, and it’s knit cotton. There’s a good chance it was made in China though I can’t be sure. (The ladies there customized it for me on the spot with that iron-on.)

Please, leave a comment–because unfortunately it seems The New York Times didn’t offer the opportunity at the end of this particular story. I would love to know your thoughts…and where your tee shirt was made.

Two related recent stories, in case you might have missed them:

There’s definitely more to discuss here. My hope is that we’re just getting started.

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