Can the future Sandra Backlund please stand up?

27 May 2009

Another knitwear related post for you all. Any stress during my recent project (and a few minor breakdowns) seems quite unnecessary, after seeing what the final year knitters have had to deal with. Many of them have been knitting 6 outfits since February, 7 days a week, and for as many hours as they're allowed in the knit room (that's 12, if you're interested). After seeing their show on Saturday, I'm sure many of them will feel that it was worth it. Here are some of the amazing things knitwear is capable of...

Eleni Xenofontos

I fell in love with this creation when I saw it on the mannequin a few weeks ago, and the cabled shrug complements it beautifully. Knitted body-con at its best.

Fay Nixon

Lindsay Elston

Sarah Hanlon

As per usual I love an interesting pair of leggings, but this ruched, armour-like panel is something else. There were also some lovely cables and body concious shapes in this collection, which I wish I'd managed to get pictures of.

Naomi Barber-Rogers

A knitted leotard would be the perfect addition to my collection, and this futuristic number with a meshlike panel looks exquisite.

Pandora Bahrami

Georgina Bavalia

Ayako Onikubo

Claudia Pearson

My favourite collection of them all, I think this was perfectly created, styled; everything. There is just the right amount of detail and embellishment, and it reflects her 'glamour with a dark edge' theme. A lot of work has gone into this, and it shows.

There's more brilliant collections (and less dodgy images), which can be seen here.

Seeing all this has scared me somewhat, as my graduate collection is less than two years away. I know it may seem like a very distant time in the future, but I've already been at Uni two years, and the time has just flown by. My knitting skills seriously need to develop, so will need to become a domestic (knitting) goddess. I'll let you know how it all goes; I'm bidding on a book about cables on eBay to kickstart the knitting prowess.

I'm very excited this week, as my friends are coming up to visit me, so will be the dutiful host and show them the great shops Notts has to offer. Hopefully I'll find something nice...

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23 May 2009

Now for the long awaited post; if you've been following my twitter, you may realise that I've been somewhat stressed. Knitting has officially taken over my life. It's quite hard to explain to a non-knitter, but doing an art and design course, especially knitwear is pretty time consuming. You can't switch off, as inspiration may come at any moment and practically everything, reading blogs and magazines, browsing and even watching Goks Fashion Fix counts as research. The knitting itself has taken up much of my time, trying to finalise techniques and make sure everything on the machine is working smoothly. My non art and design friends (and even my Dad) keep asking me if I have exams, and I have to try and explain that I actually have to knit ten swatches and write a detailed technical file, among other things which can be difficult to comprehend. Anyway, enough moaning, it's all over now. As promised, I said I'd show you a bit of what I've been doing; here's a few of the things that have been consuming my mind for the last few weeks.

I decided to start the most time consuming sample, a few days before my deadline, perhaps not the best idea. Luckily I managed to get it done, it's a swatch for the cardigan further down the page.

Pages from the crazy, falling apart sketchbook.

Here, I was testing out a travelling ribs technique on the knitting machines at Uni.

And here are some of my final illustrations. Drawing and designing is my favourite part of it all really, I tried to give everything a street-style feel, and used my actual pictures taken in Paris as a background. Who knew that being such an obsessive photographer would pay off?

Here are some of the yarns I used, a mixture of cashmere, silks and cottons.

So I hope this post has explained a bit more about knitwear, and the way it takes over my life. Now, I need to take a few days to get back into the blogging routine, and figuring out posts again (there may be a few more knitting related posts on the way, due to the graduate shows coming up). I also want to finally get the chance to relax and sort out my sleeping pattern (getting up at 7am=not good) and enjoy the sunshine coming up. Hope you all have a great weekend!

Oooh 17 followers! 17's actually my lucky number, so thanks!

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Free stuff!

17 May 2009

Wow, I seem to be on a winning streak recently; I've won two competitions on blogs. Maybe it's time to buy a lottery ticket...

I took these pictures during happier, sunnier and less stressed times...

Now I am the owner of not one, not two, but three pairs of sunglasses! Courtesy of Instant Vintage's giveaway; I now seem to have retro shades in abundance. What's interesting is that they're not styles I'd usually choose, but slowly they've started to grow on me. I absolutely love the first pair, perfect to cover my eyes after those all-nighters completing the mountain of work.

I also won a funky pair of snake print leggings at Couture Carrie. I'm still trying to figure them out, anyone got any ideas? Maybe teaming them with my free shoes?

Thanks to Couture Carrie and Instant Vintage for posting about them! I thoroughly recommend entering competitions on blogs, you never know what might happen. Maybe I'll have one of my own someday...

Now for the not so free stuff. Finally got my birdcage necklace I spoke about here from This Charming Girl. It keeps my outfits as random as ever, and I love the cute little bird inside on a minature perch. I'm definitely loving my gold jewellery/bling at the moment.

Also bought yet another pair of leggings, this time with a monochrome photofloral print, making this baby pair number 24! Topshop is making it hard for me to resist their creations; I ordered this pair to bump up an online order to qualify for free delivery, but then made the mistake of picking items I might actually keep. The clown print t-shirt is also staying put, but luckily I'm not keeping the other two items. Self control in action.

Being the dedicated knitter I am, I'm going to Uni later today (Sunday) to try and tackle this project. This'll be the eighth consecutive day (my record is fiftteen) so I'm starting to get slight 'knitting overload'. Luckily it'll all be over on Thursday, so I can get back to being my usual, non-tired self. Hope you're all having a great weekend!

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Ebay makes my day!

12 May 2009

Just a quick post. After spending 10 hours knitting at uni yesterday (ok maybe 10 is exaggerating slightly, maybe 9 plus breaks), I needed some kind of shopping reward. I am obsessed with bodysuits and leotards at the moment and tucking them into anything remotely high-waisted. While procrastinating, and looking through my favourite sellers on good old Ebay I noticed this gorgeous, never worn, white mesh number, with a deep V at the back.

It was in my watch list for about a week, temptingly low at around a fiver, then people started bidding for it yesterday. This did not put me off. Even when someone started to bid in the last 20 seconds, I was still thinking positively. I won this baby with 7 seconds to spare! My heart was literally racing, as at first it said the auction had ended, and I thought I'd been outbid (plus I was bidding in Australian dollars, which confused things even further). Luckily I refreshed the page and it said I was the winner! Can wait to receive this; hopefully if it fits well and looks good, I can wear it to my Uni presentation next week, as a kind of lucky charm.

Around £20, but technically free as I've been selling so much recently...that's the way to do it!

Of course we can't all be winners. It could have so easily gone the other way, and I could have been blogging about my eBay catastrophe. Here are some bits in my eBay watch list, that I can't quite let go of. Here are the ones that got away....

The price of this gorgeous 80s peplum dress just got too high for me, at a time when I was trying to budget (and not have too many LBDs). Maybe it was a silly decision to not even attempt a bid, as it would have been a show stopping piece, but there's not much I can do about it now (except adding it to the DIY queue).

It was either this or the bodysuit....This Minkpink lace top went for a steal at a fiver, but I knew that I wanted something a bit more summery (like the bodysuit). The size also looked a little tight, so i was dubious about it anyway.

I wasn't sure if I would even wear this, but that didn't stop me from wanting this gorgeous floral set. This set wasn't actually listed as D&G, but people found it anyway, and the price went up to £50. Too much to pay for something I wasn't sure about. My thing about eBay is to never spend more than £20, as I think I'd be seriously annoyed if I paid a lot for something and it wasn't quite right (it was bad enough when I paid a tenner for a dress that looked like a primary school summer-dress). Ebay is certainly a risk, but hopefully this one will pay off, and I'll have another unique addition to my summer wardrobe.

Till the next bidding war...

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9 May 2009

Leggings are somewhat of an obsession on this blog; I started off with a £3 Primark pair maybe 3 years ago (was slightly unsure of the trend at first), and I've now branched out to buying £28 American Apparel pairs (albeit with 15% off, don't forget those discounts). I love to adorn my legs as they can pretty much take any pattern or style I throw at them, and leggings can easily brighten up a plain top or dress. There seems to have been an overload in the past year or so, and some really interesting concepts coming through, such as rips, patterns, unexpected materials and embellishment. I thought these delights deserved their own post, as I've come across so many nice styles recently, so here I am getting all this leggings-love out of my system.

As soon as I found the Too Many Tights blog, I knew it was a match made in heaven (I think I actually screamed 'These are insane!' when the site loaded on my Macbook). James Lillis creates the most ingenious legwear, all the way from sunny Australia, and all painstakingly made by himself (which he regularly documents on his blog). It has totally inspired my leggings making, though I am tempted to just cave in and buy the above two-tone or Spartans pair in the first pic (though being the bargainista I am, I'm waiting for some kind of discount code due to the dodgy exchange rate).

I love the inventiveness of these I heart Norweigian wood creations, which combine all the things I love in a legging. Panels? Check. Sheer ornate detailing? Check. Marbled pattern? Check. This pair sold out, but they say that they are planning a collection of panelled leggings, made from two or more fabrics, so I'm excited to see what other designs they come up with.

These Alexander Wang reminiscent cut-outs actually hail from Pixie Market, another site with the potential to bankrupt me. Just you wait until I'm paid in dollars... Made from silk bandage-style strips, these would look perfect on their own or layered over some crazy tights.

I'm glad that the designers have deemed leggings still in fashion, at least for another season. Alexander McQueen strikes again with another patterned pair, this time taking the human skeleton as inspiration.

I fell in love with these Katie Gallagher creations, with twisted zips travelling up the leg. They can be unzipped to reveal a bit of flesh, but I'd prefer to layer them with a patterned pair underneath.

I think these are actually classed as trousers, but that doesn't stop me loving these Patrik Rzepski designs. Panels with different shades of sheerness, remind me of shade cards, and they would look perfect with a sculptural dress (another thing I don't really have). Definitely on my wishlist or DIYlist.

The swirls of colour on these
colourful creations by Michael Angel really appeal to me. The print is a modern take on psychedelic 70s patterns, and is reflected throughout his collections, in new and inventive ways. There are some gorgeous nice blazers and tunic tops in this pattern, definitely a designer to keep an eye on.

Now after a quick count, I realise I have 22 pairs of leggings, with 12 being black (and four being black and shiny)! I think I need a bit more colour in my collection... I'll let you know how it develops.

Also, if you were thinking that this page needed more legspiration, Susie Bubble posted about Costume Dept, which has an array of patterned legwear. Overload? Never! Here's a pattern for some zipper leggings, and I think a basic block can also be found on the site, which gives me no excuse not to start making my own. Although there is no time at the moment, I'm working on my overlocker fund, so hopefully when this project is over, I can start planning my own creations.

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Working round the clock

6 May 2009

The bank holiday has confused me somewhat, and has finally made me realise how little time I have before my deadline. Silly me for leaving a lot of work till two weeks before; I guess I'm going to have to put my whole 'I work better under pressure' stance to the test. My slightly ambitious mini-garment project is called 'Culture Collision' mainly inspired by Parisian architecture from my trip and street style. I like the way how 'real' people put looks together, mixing up designer, high-street or vintage and designers are even starting to cotton on to this (Charles Anastase, Proenzea Schouler, Dsquared), so I'm trying to design some knitwear to reflect this whole mismatched look. I haven't got a lot of work to show as yet, but I'll try and post something when I do. In the meantime, here's some inspiring street style I've found:

Nast, Hel Looks, Nast, Satorialist, Nast.

And here is my tired self, from yesterday. I was going to have a shopping ban for May, but chickened out and bought this Zara tie-dye top, to update my wardrobe slightly for summer. I like the little Wang-esque pocket, and the fact that it's the perfect length for, you've guessed it, leggings! On my mini-shopping trip I also bought a bright blue cardigan, which I wore today, but I decided against taking a picture after spending all day knitting and then a four hour stint at work. I hate being tired!

Am also trying this Bloglovin thing again, so follow away. I promise once all this work is over, there'll be a lot more to follow....

Not so plain white tees

2 May 2009

I do love a bit of deconstruction. I recently stumbled upon these reworked t-shirts by CSM graduate Yang Li. These creations seem to be the result of playing around with the formula of the basic tee, to change all preconceptions we have. Sleeves, necklines and fronts have been multiplied to crazy proportions.

Everyone needs a plain white t-shirt, so how about sticking two together?

Where does my arm go? I wouldn't get dressed in the dark wearing these...or maybe I would, could make for an interesting and unexpected look.

I love how this piece drapes, purely by the fact it has ten sleeves. Maybe it's worth playing around with a load of my Dad's old t-shirts?

A more definite womenswear piece, featuring all that I love in a garment; fullness at the hips and seams aplenty. Not sure about the cost of these pieces, but I'm definitely inspired to rejig a few of my boring tees. See more here.

1,000 (approximate) profile views, woop de woop! I promise to add bit more over the next few days to make it a bit more interesting, thanks for all those clicks...