Knitted Cowl Tutorial

28 November 2010

Knitted Cowl Scarf in Moss Stitch

Random fact, this post where I explain how to knit a circle scarf is the my most popular and searched for item on this blog.  I do worry slightly that there are numerous disappointed knitters when they see that I don't write about knitting too often but despite my wandering eye, this craft will always have a special place in my heart. I am so obsessed that my first thought upon hearing the Royal Wedding date was 'Oh dear, that's literally weeks before our graduate show, I hope the University doesn't close....'  I can imagine non-knitters euphoric about the nuptials and me, slightly delirious with broken fingernails and bits of yarn tied around my leg.  I even did the unspeakable and exclaimed during Harry Potter 7 about the fairisle and cable jumpers that Hermione managed to cram into that beaded bag for herself and the boys, sending her character up even higher in my estimation.  Anyway back to the point at hand, I've decided to do a follow up knitting post as this got such a great response last year and to introduce you to my new knitted cowl.

close up moss stitch

Knitted bobbles
The bobbles that got away

It wasn't always going to be this way.  I did experiment with knitting bobbles and I was envisioning a huge bobbled scarf to make me look like some kind of sculpture, but it was just taking too long to make.  I hope to try this technique again at some point or at least have a really long train journey (perhaps to Scotland) where I can attempt this properly.  In the meantime I will gift this swatch to my little sister, as she is always fascinated by my knitted cast-offs.
Moss Stitch Cowl Circle scarf tutorial

More knitting advice here, so you don't even need to follow my brief instructions.  You could just keep knitting every row and see what you end up with...well garter stitch.  Again I bought my yarn here, but if you have a knitting shop, John Lewis or even a knit-friendly charity shop store near you, it's worth having a gander.  If you really are stuck or confused by my instructions, comment or even e-mail me.

Normally I like huge scarves but after knitting solidly for a few train journeys and having more important knit-related work to do, I decided to cast it off and leave it as a cowl.  Although it's pretty thick, I like to leave no scrap of neck uncovered in the winter so I might wear a contrast jersey scarf underneath for maximum warmth.  I think if I had cast on more stitches, it would've been a lot thicker but I'm still happy with the shape and will bear this in mind for next time.  Also, when worn with my leather jacket, I can squint in the mirror and pretend it's the expensive Acne number.
knitted moss stitch cowl
See I can pull faces too...

Did anyone make the scarf from last year?  I'd be interested to see how my instructions served you and whether you try this again this year.  Maybe you've created something completely different, yet equally warm like Pinkbow's crochet number here.  Let me know in the comments!

Any Trent students reading this?  Say hello if you see me!

Thanks for all the comments on the previous post, most comments ever!  Happy days!

Update: I've posted an update and video for 2015. come and take a look!

Online Shopping Addicts Anonymous

24 November 2010

Houston we have a problem, I appear to be addicted to receiving things through the letterbox.  I don't really need an alarm these days, as I am woken by the sound of the postman banging on the door (alas we have no bell) to alert me to my latest parcel.  It's become so bad that I rarely allow myself to visit shops for fear of becoming totally destitute, but mainly because I prefer the online shopping experience.  I'm pretty much a solo shopper; years of retail experience mean that I can go into a store, scan the rails quickly and sum up the offerings before leaving if the stock isn't to my taste.  I like to know what's available quickly and get the best deal.  Online, I can view several sites in multiple windows and make a decision, but in real life I have to traipse back and forth from shop to shop, comparing and weighing up the options, which is when moments of indecision take hold.  I don't mind trying clothes on at home, chucking them (neatly) on the floor and commiserating with a fry-up if they don't fit, instead of looking slightly disgruntled whilst handing it back to a shop assistant.  I realise these aren't the thoughts of everyone and it can be nice to see things in person with friends, but I'm quite happy buying from my Internet High Street in the comfort of my own home.

Asos 60s style knitted Peter Pan Collar dress

Close up mustard tights and brogues

Dress - Asos
Tights, bracelet, socks - Topshop
Necklace - Brooklyn Charm
Brogues - Office
Ring - Forever 21

Familiar territory here, with yet another buy from Asos.  I used to have a love-hate relationship with the site due to questionable quality and non-free returns, but now everything I feel for the site is pure love and perhaps slight obsession.  The minimal Asos White collection is a particular fave and the sale is one of my main haunts, but I just so happened to land on the page featuring the 60s knitted shift dress one day and place an order due to its chic simplicity.  There's just something about a Peter Pan collar this season that I love and even though I went for 'boring' black, it means I can wear the craziest tights to accompany it.  It's also my first knitted dress, which I normally steer clear of as they can be quite shapeless, but this design bucks the trend (plus you can get a Heattech involved underneath for maximum warmth).

Asos Strapping tights

Speaking of crazy tights I ordered these strapping tights that are supposed to be in the style of Cheryl Cole, but I actually bought them after seeing them on Yishyene.  That's the power of blogging for you!  I realise I have sheer tights in abundance but this pair is just dying to be layered up with vivid colour.

forever 21 Envelope

Burgundy Velvet Forever 21 dress

Forever 21 ring

Dress - Forever 21
Belt - Angels Sale
Boots - Asos
Bracelet, Underskirt - Topshop
Lamp - Ikea!

After waiting 24 hours, I finally managed to place a Forever 21 order due to the site repeatedly crashing.  This velvet(een) dress caught my eye during my usual blog reading and I was wondering how to get it across the Atlantic, but luckily I found it on the UK site. I was slightly disappointed with the shape, as I thought the skirt would be fuller, but that was quickly solved by wearing another underneath to give a little more shape.  I also really like the colour and am rather proud I managed to buy something a non-black item that's also festive enough to please my mother on Christmas day.  Velvet can be a tricky fabric to buy in shops and it can often look cheap, but I think this dress might just scrape by.

Forever 21 Jewellery

What Forever 21 really excels in is its jewellery, with pieces comparable to Topshop but at more of a Primark price.  I managed to whittle down my order to a statement ring, layered chain necklace and horse pendant.  To stay true to my knitter roots, I also bought some Fairisle knee high socks.  Despite this initial order, I haven't really seen anything else I like so I will quite happily wait until I can visit the store in Birmingham next month with Winnie.  Have any of you seen it yet?


So who else out there is an online shopping addict too?  I even made a Google Boutique, which is sure to be taking my money when/if I'm making the big bucks.  Maybe I should start a support group...

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48 Hours in London

20 November 2010

Kenzo book

I seem to get a lot of my vital information from Twitter these days, such as who's divorcing who, where to find a discounted dress and how to light a gas oven.  I've even won a few competitions.  All very random.  It just so happened that I glanced at my feed during one of my 'Working At Home' days when Jazmine tweeted about getting V&A Kenzo Fashion in Motion tickets.  This is an event that the museum puts on showcasing designer collections for free, meaning that anyone can get the Fashion Week experience providing they can get tickets before the masses (and be quite happily put on hold for a very long time).  Within the next hour I had somehow obtained tickets, booked a train out of The Shire and invited Winnie along, all because of reading a tweet I could have so easily missed!

Kenzo Fashion in Motion at the V&A

Kenzo Fashion in Motion at the V&A

Kenzo Fashion in Motion at the V&A

Kenzo Fashion in Motion at the V&A

Kenzo Fashion in Motion at the V&A

Kenzo Fashion in Motion at the V&A
Not the best photos, must've been shaking to pure excitement (and being told off for blocking someone's view)

I'm can't really pinpoint when exactly I became a Kenzo fan but I guess the eclectically collaged prints of the label drew me in each season (and the gorgeous window displays of the Paris store sealed the deal).  The house was originally formed in 1970 by Kenzo Takada, but since Antonio Marras' appointment as creative director in 2008, his own Sardinian heritage has been injected into the label known for combining elements of East and West.   I'd read first hand accounts about the recent Spring 2011 collection on another blog, but it was amazing to see a show with the key Kenzo elements for myself.  I really liked the staging at the end where all the models stood still for a bit (see a short video here) and you could admire everything side by side and see the progression of colour throughout the looks.  After the show, Winnie and I admired the commemorative book in the shop, which was covered in beautiful cloth and even contained pop-up pages inside.  A definite must for the growing Christmas list.
Japan Centre Soba Noodles

Of course the day wouldn't have been complete without a Japan Centre visit. I was quite shocked to find that the magazines were far more expensive than back in Kinokuniya in NYC (Jille is £11 here in comparison to $8 in the States), even though they must have to travel a similar sort of distance.  Why do we get ripped off all the time in the UK?  Rant over, I did manage pick up some bargainous noodles  for about £1.37 that I almost never want to open due to the mysterious packaging.  How I wish I could understand Japanese!

Winnie from Diamondcanopy

Fiona from Save our Shoes

We also managed to grab Fiona for a spot of dinner at Giraffe in Spitalfields.  Winnie had her tea in the cutest teapot and Fiona, well, she had a placemat.

Design Museum by Shad Thames

Drawing Fashion Design Museum

Bernard Blossac Illustration

Antonio Lopez tights illustration
More pictures here

The next day I managed to stop by the Drawing Fashion exhibition at the Design Museum, celebrating back to basics fashion illustration with no computer wizardry in sight.  Of course I was drawn (geddit) to a piece by Antonio Lopez showcasing good old tights.  It's funny to think that magazines just featured illustrations around fifty years ago, before being ousted slightly by the growing medium of photography.  It was interesting to see how modern illustrators such as Aurore de la Morinerie manage to differentiate themselves using techniques I'd never come across before (namely monotype).  Just goes to show that Photoshop isn't everything!


Building near Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge in London

After that, I had to quickly catch my train at Kings Cross and I was off back to The Shire and mountains of Uni work.  I can't wait to be reunited with London in just under a month!

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Midi vs Maxi vs Mini

16 November 2010

H&M Striped boxy top draped skirt red tights Doc Martens

H&M Striped boxy top draped skirt red tights Doc Martens

The Scarlet Room Draped skirt Red Uniqlo Tights
Don't ask me what I'm doing in the second photo, the joys of posing in front of a tripod...

Top - H&M
Tights - Uniqlo
Boots - Doc Martens
Jewellery - Brooklyn, Gogo Philip, DIY, Topshop

Another attempt at trying to inject a bit more colour into my life through the medium of hosiery.  It's tricky as I'm always buying things in black, white and grey (practical colours) and then wondering why everything I have is so dull.  Even most of my tights are sheer black, which is all well and good but I do love a bit of colour!  On a recent visit back home I found a long-lost mustard pairs which I'm determined to start wearing again, but I want something a bit crazier, maybe like this?  Another addition for the Christmas list methinks.  Do you tend to veer towards neutral colours subconsciously? 

Vero Moda Leather Lola Jacket Vintage Grey Pleated Skirt

Vero Moda Box

Vintage Grey Pleated Skirt Zac Posen Tights and Ebay boots

Vero Moda Lola Suede Leather Jacket Closed

Jacket - courtesy of Vero Moda
Tops - Oak, Uniqlo Heatech
Skirt - Charity shop
Belt - Battersea Boot Fair
Tights - Zac Posen for Wolford
Boots - Ebay
Jewellery - Brooklyn, Gogo Philip, DIY, Topshop, Primark

Don't you just hate it when leather jacket weather passes you by?  I'm determined to hold on by the skin of my teeth, due to this offering Vero Moda so kindly sent me.  They recently opened a flagship store on London's Oxford Street, which boasts the directional Very range that unfortunately doesn't reside in my local branch, so a trip to the shopping mecca is definitely needed (if only to feel these leggings). Back to the jacket, it's a gorgeous suede mix and looks pretty decent when open in a waterfall style or closed like some sort of Matrix character.  Luckily I made it warm enough with a vital Uniqlo Heattech layer underneath and I will continue to wear it until some sort of flu prevents me from leaving the house.  The pleated Maxi skirt is a recent charity shop find and was a bargainous £3!  I'm pretty glad as I've been looking for a light coloured maxi for a while and had previously been coveting this number.  Covet no more.  I do wish I'd worn it with heels, as I didn't really like the full length photo, but hopefully you get the idea.

Baggy Topshop Jumper Knee High Socks

Close up jewellery

Jumper - Topshop
Shirt - Weekday via Beacons Closet
Tights - Urban Outfitters
Thigh high socks - H&M
Shoes - Office
Jewellery - Brooklyn, Gogo Philip, DIY, Topshop, Marc Jacobs
Ring - Primark
Nails - Models Own Purple Ash

I stupidly only brought one jumper up to Uni and the knitting machine did attack it slightly on the sleeves, though it's barely noticeable and if anything adds to the grungy look.  I'm tempted to revert back to my multiple tendencies and go for a lighter version as well.  Everyone always asks why I don't knit my own clothes but the truth is, there's not really the time (or desire) for it when doing lots of coursework and a it's just a lot easier for me to find something in a shop.   I hope to make a few items for myself once I've finished my degree, since I now have the skills to do so, but until then the questions shall continue.  My friend even asked me if I had to knit a jumper for my dissertation!  If only!  I'm surrounded by marketing books at the moment and racking up library finds galore.

Barry M nail effects and Models Own Polish

Cardigan, tunic - H&M
Shirt - Brooklyn Flea
Nails - Models own Grey Misty Grey and Barry M Nail Effects

I couldn't keep away from the Barry M Nail Effects for long and went back to one of my favourite combinations of light vs dark.  Again, I seem to have bought a lot of muted nail polishes recently but they are ideal for being jazzed up with the topcoat or even these nail art pens.  Who else has ordered them?  I'm going to wait a few weeks as my online shopping addiction is getting a bit ridiculous now, with Asos and Forever 21 parcels coming soon.  I ordered two dresses and will definitely let you know how I get on; hopefully that's the festive wardrobe sorted...
I am also selling a dress here, I always go a bit crazy when shopping at TSR...

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The next best thing to Tokyo

12 November 2010

It's no secret that I am a major fan of Japanese culture, whether it be reading (or rather looking at the pictures of) the busy, jam-packed magazines or devouring the delicious food. If I can ever muster up the inevitable grand to get myself there it'll be a miracle, but in the meantime I've been making full use of this country's homage to a faraway place.

Y-3 keyrings

Collar Sleeveless Y-3 Shirt

Pleated Y-3 Maxi skirt

Menswear Y-3

Twisted Y-3 top

Sheer Y-3 Shirt

Striped Y-3 top

Adidas Cushion

Some of my faves from the Y-3 press day.  I must admit I wasn't quite sure about these items on the catwalk, but up close is a different story. I'm all for non-traditional summer clothing and the 'rocker' theme supports this perfectly, with a monochromatic colour palette and sporty take on the maxi skirt. Even though I haven't got round to posting my carefully cultivated Spring 2011 trend ideas, cute shirts with sleeveless collars were definitely present and I can't wait to try and find my own version.

Issey Miyake Apoc Knit

Jun Takahashi

Mintdesigns socks close up
Loved these socks by Mintdesigns

It was bad enough having to leave New York.  It was even worse knowing that I would be missing the Japan Fashion Now exhibition at the FIT Museum entirely, but little did I know that the Barbican (in London) had something up its sleeve. Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion pretty much does what it says on the tin, it documents the rise of Japanese fashion design and how their point of view differs from that of the West.  The figure is often concealed and manipulated, treated as more of a sculpture than just simply something to dress and pieces are featured by greats such as Yohji Yamamoto, Junya Watanabe and Issey Miyake, as well as a few others I hadn't previously heard of. 

Koji Tatsuno dress

Comme des Garcons adverts

Rei Kawakubo dresses

Of course photography was not allowed (it's situations like this that make me glad I don't have a massive DSLR), but me being the devious blogger I am, managed to take a few (correction, many) sneaky snaps to show you what's on offer without totally spoiling the whole experience.  There are also lengthy film interviews with Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo, which meant that I managed to spend around 3 hours in the gallery taking notes and generally avoiding the dull British weather.  I was determined not to miss the exhibition like I did the Martin Margiela retrospective at Somerset House, but luckily it's on until early February next year so I hope some of you will be able to make it there.  What are your favourite aspects of Japanese fashion?

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