Saturday, December 24, 2011

Knitting Advent Calendar 24: Marilyn Monroe

Happy Christmas - here's Marilyn Monroe.

Marilyn herself was a knitter, as seen in the film "Let's make Love". She's not wearing a very interesting sweater here, but she's wearing the hell out of it.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Knitting Advent Calendar 23: V-back sweater.

Another 80's Bomb before we get to the glamorous final. I don't even know where to begin here. The baggy elephantine sleeves, the huge back cleavage which will surely cause the shoulders to slide off all the time, the nasty oversize lace, or the "skirt" made from a plastic table cloth. Oh 80's, we don't miss you.

Knitting Advent Calendar 22: Dorothy Lamour

This is by far my most favourite sweater of the book. Boatnecked and beaded, now this is how you do glam knitwear.

Bill Gibb thinks that she looks "not dissimilar to today's pop star Madonna". I don't see it.

Knitting Advent Calendar 21: Greta Garbo

What the book calls "Le Style Garbo" is maybe a bit more rustic on the average lady, but I do like the honeycomb pattern here.

Knitting Advent Calendar 20: Peggy Cummins

Mr Gibb describes this as "one of the more sensual sweaters of the book". I think it's just the prominent boobs, not so much the sweater!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Knitting Advent Calendar 19: Jennifer Jones

This oversize sweater looks strangely modern! Also very cosy.

Couldn't find any fascinating facts about her but she seemed to be cast as "asian" quite frequently. Sounds like a few of the ladies in this book fell into that "exotic" category purely because they had dark hair. Hum.

Knitting Advent Calendar 18: Chevron Boy

This guy is a wonderful example of the non-gender-normative upbringing of children in the 80's. I'm still not convinced whether it's a boy. The bravery of mixing Tartan with this herringbone pattern, as well as playing on a space hopper in weather that requires gloves - admirable!

Knitting Advent Calendar 17: Virginia Mayo

There's something rather "Sound of Music" about this one, probably the German style hat and jacket - but the jumper is also rather folky. Cute!

Knitting Advent Calendar 16: Lana Turner

Well, she's a feisty one! I'm slightly scared.

Today's favourite Wikipedia fact is that she accidentally had an affair with a real life gangster in her 30's, and once had such a violent argument with him that her teenage daughter intervened and stabbed him to death! So - best not to mess with her.

Knitting Advent Calendar 15: Jean Harlow

The original Blonde Bombshell wearing a supremely itchy-looking polo shirt.

Knitting Advent Calendar 14: Robert Taylor

This needs no comment other than to state this man's birth name: Spangler Arlington Brough. Considering this together with the case of Archibald Leach, it seems like a lot of playground bullying is a good prerequisite for becoming a hollywood heartthrob.

Knitting Advent Calendar 13: Jane Greer

According to the description in the book, Jane Greer was often cast as a "villainess". Based on this picture, I imagine her to play a department manager at John Lewis who won't give you a refund on this scarf you bought for your wife just because she didn't like the pattern ("too much like a 7up advert").

Knitting Advent Calendar 12: Chinese Sweater

A wonderful bit of 80's baggy ninja chinoiserie! I'm not sure if the balaclava is part of the pattern.

Knitting Advent Calendar 11: Adele Jergens

I love this thing! Crazy belly baring fuzzy sweater! Sexy scandi lady!

Knitting Advent Calendar 10: Cary Grant

Cary Grant! A local boy. Born Archibald Leach in Bristol, and went to the same primary school as my boyfriend (although not at the same time)! Sporting a classic cricket sweater here. I really find it hard to take a sport seriously that has its own knitwear.

Knitting Advent Calendar 9: Jane Wyman

This is one of my favourites - see those three lines on her chest? Those are cigarettes! With shiny red thread for the glowing ends. The epitome of glamour.

I love her charm belt too, with her initials in it (Jane Wyman Reagan I guess - she was married to Ronald R once).

Knitting Advent Calendar 8: Loretta Young

Loretta Young, actress and TV personality - too classy to be amusing.

Knitting Advent Calendar 7: Judy Garland

Ah, Judy Garland! Gay icons have changed a lot since. Don't think Lady Gaga would be seen dead in this.

So if you look very closely, you can see that the fluffy bit is not a stole, but in fact the sleeves of this cardigan! Very cute.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Knitting Advent Calendar 6: Errol Flynn

Hm. They say Errol Flynn was "extremely handsome and virile". I'm not sure how this smarmy grin fits into that. And in my book, a gentleman does not wear his trousers held up by a piece of string.

Slightly boring jumper too... but I thought I'd give you some male eye candy if this kind of thing floats your boat.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Knitting Advent Calendar 5: Claudette Colbert

The blurb for this pattern describes Mme Colbert as a "superb clothes horse" with a "strangely feline face", somewhat unflatteringly.

I really love the strong shoulders on this cardigan, no wonder they were keen on it in the 80s (and now, probably!).

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Knitting Advent Calendar 4: Sailor Suit

Today, in honour of the Bristol Harbour Harlot's Roller Derby bout against South West Angels of Terror, a "smart" 80's Sailor Suit!

I swear there is a nipple in this picture. And would it have killed her to dry her hair?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Knitting Advent Calendar 3: Vilma Banky

A lesser known starlet this week! But with an interesting jumper. This has an embroidered Union Jack and some sort of colonial flag? A weird choice considering she was Hungarian and worked in Hollywood. She was one of the actresses whose careers were ended by the "talkies" as apparently Hungarian accents weren't considered sexy, like French, or German (right?).

Friday, December 2, 2011

Knitting Advent Calendar 2: Gary Cooper

Gary Cooper today! Nice Christmas jumper, too. According to the blurb he "exuded from a screen a powerful sexuality". Can't disagree, really.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Knitting Advent Calendar 1: Joan Crawford

It's December again which can only mean one thing - I find pictures of celebrities wearing knitwear and post them here for your delectation.

This year is going to be less mocking and more admiring in tone, as I managed to get my hand on a book called Hollywood Knits. It was published in the 80s, but all the photos are from much earlier in the century. The author Bill Gibb dug out photos of "Old Hollywood" film stars posing in glamorous jumpers and then reverse engineered the patterns from the photos. Amazing!

Kicking things off is the beautiful Joan Crawford:

I especially like the sequinned braces. I would completely wear this entire outfit (maybe minus the unflattering gathered skirt waist).

Monday, June 20, 2011

A group effort and a first nemesis

There's a new-ish shop on North Street called Paper Village, which is basically everything I would have done if I'd ever actually got round to opening a shop. It sells some cheap acrylic wool in many colours, various fun craft supplies and some interesting artwork, and also runs craft workshops for kids and adults.

Vic, who runs the shop, instigated a little group yarn bombing project under the banner of the Bristol Knitivists, to coincide with the South Bristol Art Trail. It had a loose theme of "gardens", which included a cactus, lots of flowers, and some birds and bees. I contributed two bike rack cosies, a "grassy" one and a multi-textured one.

Here are some photos of the day:

As you can see, it was a big success with passers-by.

Unfortunately, most of it did not last very long. On monday evening, I cycled past the installation and saw a man take down our work. I went over to ask him why, and he said "the environmental officer came down today.". When I asked him to elaborate, he claimed that "you're not to vandalise the street furniture". I really should have pressed him further as to a) why this "environmental officer" had come down and what his name was b) how what we had done constituted vandalism ("ruthless destruction or spoiling of anything beautiful or venerable") and c) whether he, personally, had been given the task of removing the offending pieces by this presumably fictional council representative. But for some reason I decided to leave it at that at the time.

As you can probably tell, I am quite annoyed about this. In principle, I know that this is part of doing any sort of guerilla/public installation - if you are assuming the right to install your work somewhere public, you're also accepting other people's right to take it down again. I just really can't accept the sort of petty small-mindedness that seemed to be the motivation for this.

Anyway - one of the bike rack cosies lasted slightly longer by virtue of being slightly down the road, and it was there during Upfest which happened a couple of weeks later, and we got plenty of positive reactions for our work, too, including an "I saw you" in Venue (Thursday, 26 May 2011)!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Look! An actual BOOK!

About 6 months ago I was approached via my Flickr account about contributing some photos to a book about yarnbombing. And just the other day, I got my copy in the post!
It is called Urban Knits, published by Prestel/Random House and for sale here. Here are my pages:

It's not entirely what I was expecting - I got sent a preliminary layout a while ago, where it looked like I was going to share a page with Olek, the famous and prolific NYC crochet-bomber, but none of her work is included in the final book. I have a suspicion that she asked for an actual fee, and wasn't content with just receiving a copy of the book (I managed to get two, but that's all). Anyway - it's a fun little book and good for showing off! Now I'm on a mission to get the Arnolfini Bookshop to start selling it - after all, there are at least two photos of the Arnolfini building in there!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Nothing lasts forever

If you're in Bristol, you probably know about the riots on Stokes Croft that happened over the past few weeks. I've not personally been affected, but some of my yarn bombs have (kind of). The night of the first riot, some of the cosies on the bridge got torched! I have no evidence that there was any connection but I can imagine that the heightened atmosphere could have led someone to take a lighter to our pieces. Nanna D's lovely striped piece was almost entirely gone, with only a few melted rings left, and my yellow hazard tape was scorched at the bottom. So I went over there today and took them off entirely, because it no longer looked good. This is what was left:

The limpets in Stokes Croft (located right in the midst of the riots!) were still intact, but as they kept sliding down, and were at quite a busy junction, got absolutely filthy, as well as kind of limp.

That's why I knitted a larger replacement, which should also fit more snugly and not slide down to dog-wee height so easily.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Yarnbombed Signs

The Southville Footbridge, which is rapidly becoming a yarnbombing hotspot is split into a pedestrian and a cycle lane. People do generally stick to this, although the signs are almost completely illegible as they are covered in dirt, moss and stickers.

I fancied doing something a bit different from a railing cosy, so I refreshed both of the signs! They are quite high up but conveniently you can use the towers like a ladder so they were fairly easy to install.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A commission, and another hazard tape

I've been showing off about my yarn bombing at work, and my colleague who's a DJ in his spare time decided that he wanted to have his new mixing desk yarn bombed. Of course, I'm not one to back down from a knitting challenge! I produced this thing:
I hope it'll fit. I have asked him to provide pictures of it in situ.

I also added another hazard tape to Gaol Ferry Bridge, and Nanna D is also getting on on the act! I think it would be great to just keep adding bits until the whole bridge is soft.

Finally, and excitingly, I've been shown the layouts for the pages featuring my art in this book! It will be out in a few months time. I am sharing a page with Olek (also featured on the cover), I think!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Elaborate Cake Baking

I've been reading the blog Confections of a (closet) Master Baker for a while now, admiring her incredible cake creations. I took Valentines Day as an opportunity to spend hours and hours on making this Puzzle Cake! I failed at making the buttercream and just ended up with a massive bowl of lumpy pink globs - what a waste of 15 eggs! - so I just made some with butter and icing sugar. It doesn't look quite like the original, but I think I did an ok job. Now I just have to find some people to feed it to as I definitely can't fit this into my diet!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Adorable Bento!

I've been on this fitness regime (god, I hate calling it a diet) for the last four weeks, which means I need to prepare and take my own lunches into work. It's a distinct improvement on the stale (but free!) sandwiches we get provided!
To celebrate being halfway through the challenge, I've treated myself to a beautiful Bento lunchbox from Japan, complete with a lovely furoshiki cloth to wrap it in.

All wrapped up:

Owl Box-

Two compartments and some little extra sauce pots!