By Hypatia Francis
A typical workday for Tom Redpath starts early. By five o’clock in the morning—while most of us are still asleep—he’s on the road, heading for his first job of the day: a sheep farm in Vankleek Hill, Ontario. He has a long day ahead of him—likely multiple farms and hundreds of animals to work with. Tom, you see, is one of a near-extinct breed: the North American sheep shearer.
By Fiona Ellis
When a fashion trend debuts it can be shocking or at least unsettling to the common view of what constitutes appropriate attire. If however, the look in question resonates with the contemporary thinking, the trend becomes acceptable and widely adopted. Take tights for example. A glimpse of stocking was once, as Cole Porter so aptly put it, “simply shocking” but now we take the sight of Lycra-sheathed leg in stride.
Some may view fashion as frivolous, but clothes are an interesting reflection of what is happening within a culture. Studying what was fashionable can provide insight into the social norms of a particular era and tell us a lot about how women were viewed (and how they viewed themselves) in society. Throughout its history, hosiery responded both to the rise and fall of hemlines, sociological changes, and technological advances in both fiber and manufacturing. In many cases because these aspects are at play at the same time it’s not always clear which was the strongest influence precipitating the changes.
Swatch It! Spring Summer 2014
by Clara Parkes
Consider the sweater. Perched on our shoulders are tens of thousands, who are we kidding, millions of stitches in a garment that could, depending on the yarn, weigh upwards of a kilo. The fabric is expected to move and flex and breathe with us, withstand the slings and arrows of everyday wear, and, at the end of the day, still look as fresh and beautiful as the day it was born. Not every yarn can do this.
Darn It All!
by Kate Gilbert
Last February, I put on one of my favorite pairs of socks—one of the first pairs I ever made. They’re a lovely toe-up design that I managed to squeak out of one precious hank of Lorna’s Laces Lucky Stripe Shepherd Sock back when I lived in Paris, some ten years ago.
And that’s when I found the holes. Four of them. Figuring them for goners, I sent a tweet saying that they were biting the dust, and I prepared to say goodbye.
Then the responses, urging me to darn them, started filling my feed.
Somehow I had absorbed the idea that socks with holes weren’t worth saving. (Who said that you should drop the offending pair in the trash bin, saying “oh darn!” as you do?). The tweets suggested otherwise.
The Error of Our Ways Part 3: Grave Errors
by Robin Melanson
By now, intrepid knitter, you are quite confident in picking up your dropped stitches, correcting your stitching errors, and conquering the subtle art of perfection. You have mastered the microcosm of the world of errors. Your garment is perfectly knitted; no mistake has been made that has not also been unmade. What’s left to learn?
At some point (it happens to the best of us) you will stitch a garment that, despite careful attention, presents a flaw: the sleeves are too long, the ribbing flips up because it was worked too loosely, the body is too short, or the yoke pattern is not correctly centered. How are you going to fix these things without beginning again? How will you keep this garment off the tragic (and expensive) pile of Things That Must Not Be Worn?
Let us explore….
Swatch It! Winter 2013
by Clara Parkes
The premise of this column has always been that I would pick one garment, something that has piqued my knitterly curiosity for one reason or another, and see what happens if I bypass the recommended yarn and try something different. My goal has never been to tell you what yarns to substitute, but, rather, to get you thinking about yarns in a different, broader, more experimental way.
Sometimes, the projects Kate has assembled for an issue are all so tantalizing that it's painful, nay, impossible to choose just one. Which is why, instead, I'd like to share my thought process behind five projects I'd love to swatch in this issue.