Archive Page 2

22
Mar
13

2nd jacket – done!

My second big knitting project is done!

blue jkt  finished

When the knitting bug hit me last fall, I actually wanted to knit a BROWN jacket… thinking that I want something to compliment this dress:

tight fitting jersey dress by Anni Kuan

tight fitting jersey dress by Anni Kuan

Admittedly, this dress NEEDS something.  (also admittedly, the camera’s setting is all screwed up and I did not fix that…) When I was wearing the dress, I most often wrapped a colorful scarf around my neck or had loud tights on. It is very comfortable and nicely tailored… but a bit drab. Where I got the idea that a BROWN jacket would spice it up, I don’t remember anymore. Which is why I ended up buying green/blue yarn for my first project (picture here). That jacket did not work over the dress –  it is too long and bulky.

So off to the the yarn store I went again, still thinking about my dress project. The yarn I got is a Merino/Llama/Bamboo mix which does not itch (very important!). I was taking the pattern off a picture that I had seen and fit it to a cotton jacket I own. (see my Ravelry notes)

dress jkt open headdress jkt closed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now I feel like a lady of the fifties… this combination can pass as retro!

 

blue jkt  front detail

Here is the true color. Me and my camera in a better mood! 🙂

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01
Mar
13

why this works

… on certain body types.

the infamous bubble dress

the infamous bubble dress

The other day, I had a customer try on this dress.  It does not get a lot of play – mainly because it has a BUBBLE skirt.

It doesn’t matter that Europe seems to dig the bubble or that it looks fabulous on incredibly tall and skinny women. Around here – no such love affair. Also, most women are not incredibly tall and skinny.

The BUBBLE has been a mystery to me as well. Today, after some deliberation I think I might have figured it out.

The bubble shape basically mimics a woman’s body. Wider on top, tighter around the middle, wider in the hips and then again narrow at the legs.

2013-03-01 13.18.11If you are naturally curvy, pretty much any dress shape will work.  However, if your body is more angular – think no defined waist, slim hips and maybe a flat(ter)
tush – then the BUBBLE is THE ANSWER to a more hourglass-shaped look.

Even my flat-chested self gives off the impression of a rubenesque diva in this dress, don’t you think?  This dress actually hangs pretty loose while the cut defines chest, waist and hips.

Much of the same would be true for a bubble skirt. Combined with a loose top with a broad enough neckline and shoulders to match the proportions of the hip shape of the skirt, it may result in the same effect.

one last look at my curvy self

one last look at my curvy self

So, there you go – I have figured out what a bubble dress CAN DO.  For certain people.

22
Feb
13

intermission

For 23 seconds now, the rain stopped. The wind let up. It’s dripping fat drops form the eaves.

It stopped and there are faint sunbeams in the distance.

photo

A few more days and it will be March.  This and the fact that I took the above picture earlier this week while visiting the Bay Area where it was pleasantly warm – makes me want to toss the sweaters and tights to the side and think about lighter clothing. Brighter colors. Soft fabrics.

Anni Kuan silk blouse

Anni Kuan silk blouse

Look how the sun is playing with the fabric! I have the good fortune of looking directly into the sun from where I sit. When its out, that is.

Hazel knit/crochet cotton dress

Hazel knit/crochet cotton dress

The eyelet design of this airy dress makes me want to float through a breezy summer day.  The dress comes with a white slip, but I decorated it with a black one to show off the pretty design.  I then remembered that I have an orange one in my closet, which in turn made me take the dress home.

Anni Kuan jersey dress with turquoise piping

Anni Kuan jersey dress with turquoise piping

A last teaser for now because the sun is blinding me. (YEAH!)  These are only the first of many new items that will arrive shortly.

And then I will attend the apparel show next week to buy….Fall and Winter! I’ll never wrap my head around this schedule. I might go there in my down jacket, just because.

 

 

10
Feb
13

maintenance

This morning I was pulling a pair of socks out of my sock drawer and discovered

a big hole!

a big hole!

Lately, I have stumbled upon a few blogs on the interwebs which -actually- discuss MENDING, much to my surprise. Mending of old garments, carpets, embroidery… just about anything. For some reason I thought that mending was old-fashioned. That people rather buy new and not mend. Or enjoy the tattered qualities of their possessions. Unless you are as old as I am and your mother taught you how to mend.

Which is why I will share with you how to mend a good old-fashioned toe hole in a sock.  Because we all have them.

First, it is VERY helpful to have the appropriate tools to attempt mending a sock hole:

a darning egg, suitable color thread and an embroidery needle

a darning egg, suitable color thread and an embroidery needle

Instead of the darning egg (this one is from my grandma), you may also use a smooth rock or maybe a glass. However, you will need something to spread out the hole over, because otherwise you’ll either prick your finger or you will end up with an unsightly glob of thread.  It DOES help if you have the right color darning wool for your sock but you might enjoy a patchwork look. Lastly, a needle with a big enough eye to thread your yarn. An embroidery needle helps, especially one with a dull point so as not to break the threads of your sock. I just use what I have, which in this case is a pointed one.

My mother taught me to basically ‘weave’ a patch into the hole.  You start the patch by adding a few lines of thread by going back and forth over the hole, picking up a few threads at either end. I leave a bit of space between the lines, the closer they are, the tighter your patch will be.

see how helpful the darning egg is?

see how helpful the darning egg is?

Then you start the actual weave; again picking up a few threads at either end, you move over one line of thread, then under.  On the way back, move UNDER where you went over and move OVER where you went under. One up, one down , using the needle to lift the darning thread.

one up, one down - see?

one up, one down – see?

(Of course, I had to use black for this sock – which is harder to photograph than anything!)  I usually try to match the stitches of the sock and weave as tight or loose as the sock is knit.

Finishing up, I  also weave through the neighboring stitches  – as you can see, they also look worn and may produce the next hole right away!

helping the thinning sock...

helping the thinning sock…

Voila!  That wasn’t too bad, eh?

 

25
Jan
13

my love/hate relationship: airplanes

My first love was the train.

For hours and hours I would watch the train tracks and dream myself to places where the train could take me.

I was almost 20 when I took my first flight – to Athens, Greece. I still remember where I sat on the plane and how grown-up I felt.

I kept my first boarding passes; Israel, South America were among my first itineraries – I was just too excited to throw them out.

Since then I’ve lost track how much I fly. Living pretty much at the very edge of the Western World, I rely on airplanes to get me anywhere. If I want to see some of my best friends, I have to fly. If I want to see my aging relatives, I have to fly. If I want to see my brother, cousins, nieces and nephews, I have to fly. If I want to travel to warmer climates, I have to fly too.

I have a love/hate relationship with airplanes and airlines.

on my way to Chicago - Mt. Hood in the distance

on my way to Chicago – Mt. Hood in the distance

I feel for the flight attendants who have to keep a smiling face at every passenger who tries to squeeze yet another overstuffed bag in the  – already overloaded – overhead bins. I would never try to get at my fellow passenger’s throat with a plastic knife. I’m glad I do not have ‘chicken or pasta?’ for my regular dinners.

I love it when they deliver my lost bag to the door because it somehow went through Montreal, Canada.

I am on so many frequent flyer programs and sometimes forget where can I redeem my miles.

I resent lingering on ugly concourses. I have missed a few flights because I hate to waste time at the airport and am cutting it too close.

And yet, for the the most part, I fly because I am  A TOURIST – I CHOOSE to fly, I’m glad I don’t have to do it for work.  I look forward to getting to my destination, even with a screaming headache.

Zurich airport - that plane will take me to Lisbon!

Zurich airport – that plane will take me to Lisbon!

Heraklion, Crete - going home :(

Heraklion, Crete – going home 😦

I’m not really grumpy – I only wish I could time-travel to see you next time!

 

19
Jan
13

I’m in stitches

Would you believe it? I am deep into my SECOND big knitting project!

2013-01-02 14.11.40

After years and years of knitting a shawl here and another pair of socks there – or maybe a quick armwarmer – I couldn’t wait to get started on my next big project, right after I finished this jacket:

jkt front

(You can see my Ravelry notes here)

Knitting is productive albeit slow. Sewing can get you to your finished product a bit faster, I think.

Over the years, there has always been something that held my attention for a certain timeframe and I would devote a lot of time to it. I remember when I was deep into ebay and bidding and would spend entire nights trying to score one bargain or another. That was even when I only had dial-up. (remember the screetch when connecting to the internet?) My fascination with online bidding has since waned, and I have had a fast internet connection for longer than I can remember.

Then I received a computer camera for a birthday gift and signed up for skype. Wow, did I get sucked into that – whole nights were skyped away with half the world.

Sewing as a passion comes and goes – there are months when I don’t do anything and then others when I get carried away making one thing or another. And can’t stop.

The exciting aspect of all this is that I really look forward to the activity. I like to get all absorbed and watch the progress.

So this time around it is knitting – again.

I have always wanted to have a jacket to wear over a certain tight-fitting brown jersey dress. The green jacket above doesn’t work with it. Reading around in my usual blogs, I found this jacket Tasia of Sewaholic made:

photo courtesy of Sewaholic, a fine sewing/craft blog!

photo courtesy of Sewaholic, a fine sewing/craft blog!

Tasia is wearing it over a dress and I think it might work for my dress as well! I love how tight fitting and short it is.

Instead of the pattern insert this jacket uses, I will modify it to this one:

upper part only, may have to tinker with it a bit

upper part only, may have to tinker with it a bit

I am only visually following the jacket pattern; I am trusting my knitting abilities that it will come out. (after all – I spent my entire university years knitting during lectures!)

Here is a picture of the back in progress:

my 'pattern'

my ‘pattern’

Stay tuned for the finished project!

Happy weekend!

08
Jan
13

Where I (also) shop.

As many of you know, I own a small beautiful clothing store and pride myself in selling high-quality fashionable clothing. My bread and butter comes from the lovely customers who support an independent retailer and are willing to spend the money to wear something nice.

So I fear very much the arrival of the the book ‘Overdressed. The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion’, which I have on hold at the library. Not only will I find out about clothing production, especially overseas, I am also afraid that I cannot look at fashion the same way ever again.  And that includes the items I sell at my own store and frequently buy for myself.

This is precisely the reason I have to write what I am about to write about TODAY and not after I’ve read the book.

I do trek to the outlet mall. I also buy clothing at thrift stores.

my latest find - an awesome LEATHER jacket

my latest find – an awesome LEATHER jacket

There you have it. I confessed.

I know, this is not a big deal and I don’t have nightmares about it. I partly justify my mall-ventures with the fact that I ONLY do it about once or twice a year. And, of course, there is nothing wrong with buying and wearing second hand clothing.

I have found incredibly unique items, discounted, sometimes in need of repair or alteration… and most of them I love dearly.

Anni Kuan beaded sweater

Anni Kuan beaded sweater

a reworked '60ies skirt and a thrift store jacket

a reworked ’60ies skirt and a thrift store jacket

So far, I have included pictures from finds at the outlet mall (the orange leather jacket), eBay (beaded sweater), the thrift store and my aunt’s closet (skirt and cord jacket).

this coat was half off on an already really good price

this coat was half off on an already really good price

striped tights, 2nd hand jacket

‘free’ jacket, dress sewn by me

What’s more – I sometimes find something in a ‘free’ box on the side of the road, such as the black long jacket above. I thoroughly cleaned this one, shortened the sleeves and mended some holes.

Maybe this is a good balance after all. My closet has everything that was priced ‘free’ to several hundred of dollars.

What about you?  Where do you shop and how do you feel about it?

 

 

 




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