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May 19, 2006

Latest Knitting Article

The toilet paper cozies have been published in the current Summer ’06 issue of Knit.1 Magazine! What silly fun that was. At first I was only writing an article on embellishing knitting. Then the editor, Adina Klein, wanted some embellished objects to accompany the article. Adina, as all editors should, has a knack for getting you to agree to something in casual conversation and not consider the consequences until you hang up the phone. When I first asked Adina what she wanted embellished, she said anything I would like. I'm not a free-range creative type; I thrive on parameters. I asked her to name something, she thought for a few seconds and said toilet paper cozies. Done.

I had some parameters to follow for the embellishments. One cozy was to be plain, one was to have flowers, one knitted cord, one pompoms and the last was found objects. It took several long walks to figure out what to do. I think the first to be decided was the flowered one; the daisy loom flowers remind me of the late 60's early 70's so I took the psychedelia of things like Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In (Yes, I'm old enough to have watched it as a kid!) for inspiration. Pompoms remind me of cheerleaders, so I did one in a sports theme. It wound up being the Yankees because that's the team colors the yarn came in. The inspiration for what to do with knitted cord came while I was catching up on blogs. Attaturk of Rising Hegemon uses a fez as his avatar. Hmm. Woolease comes in cranberry. Trim with a black tassel. Voila. With three friendly designs, I really needed to do something wrong for the last one, hence my tribute to Sid Vicious in Black Woolease. I lined a cozy with rows of safety pins in graduated sizes (it took about 150) and then threaded it with hot fuchsia yarn, trimming the ends into spikes. My favorite comment was from a recent student who is also a fashion retail maven: "It somehow manages to be cuddly and aggressive at the same time." Then again, maybe she was describing me.

This is a biased opinion because the cozies are in it, but I really like this issue. If you buy a knitting magazine because you’re looking for looking for a collection of patterns to knit, it may or may not be to your taste. I never knit patterns literally anyway. If you’re looking for energy and inspiration, check it out. The issue reminds me more of how the fashion industry works than the hand-knitting industry, with the accent on creativity, novelty and risk. I love classic wearable designs as well - for the best classic male knitwear patterns, go to a Japanese book store – in NYC try Kinokuniya – and thumb through their collections. I will be doing a sweater for an upcoming issue of Vogue Knitting and I intend do something along the lines of the best Japanese "classic and wearable but with a new twist in a detail" designs. A little novelty is important to keep things fresh and energetic. There’s a lot of way-out-there stuff in the issue (John Brinegar has knit hot pants and boxer shorts in it as well as a great 50’s inspired cowl front top that’s much more practical) as well as some theme layouts – the one on Frida Kahlo is quite good. Another friend, Stephanie Klose, has a piece on knitting and art in the issue. There’s nothing I want to knit immediately (I’ve already made my toilet paper cozies, thanks) but reading it made me want to knit and design, and that’s why I like it.

Posted by Leigh Witchel at May 19, 2006 10:55 AM

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I hear that there is a fascinating "Celebrity Knitter" interview in this issue as well! Word is that between that interview and the toilet paper cozies that this issue is flying off the newsstands!

Posted by: Steve at May 19, 2006 1:52 PM

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