Somebody left a comment a few entries back–I can't remember who, and to find out I'd have to stop typing, get off the chaise longue and walk all the way over there to look–asking whether I still actually knit anything, or do I just sit around now making smart remarks about knitting in between hits on my hookah?
Well, missy–or mister, I can't recall–yes, I still knit. Sweet Barbara Walker, do I knit. I've spent the past many months doggedly knitting my stubby little peasant fingers to even stubbier little peasant fingers. I haven't been able to show you much, because most of it was in the service of publishers who get all hissy and litigious when you leak photographs before the books or magazines come off the press.
This week two of the pieces have been de-classified.
The first is tiny, a bagatelle: a book cover, called Aemelia in honor of the pioneering authoress Aemelia Lanyer, in the new issue of Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts.
It was inspired by the demure sewn cloth covers my mother and her friends used to slip over the bodice-ripper paperbacks they read and traded with each other–classics like Johanna Lindsey's The Devil Who Tamed Her, which invariably sported cover art as overheated as downtown Chernobyl.
I had planned to put a cable on the front, but wound up designing my own interpretation of a Jacobean embroidered tulip because a) that seemed more interesting and b) I wanted to see if I could do it.
I put in my pattern notes that the tulip bud is a traditional symbol of hidden, burgeoning female sexuality, but they didn't include that in the magazine. Go figure.
The second is larger, and my first pattern in a printed book, and a beautiful book it is, too: Modern Knits, Vintage Style: Classic Designs from the Golden Age of Knitting.
The publishers, Voyageur Press, asked folks to design new pieces based upon an iconic fashion images. I chose Jacqueline Bouvier's wedding veil, because I am gay like that. I figured if I was supposed to pick an icon, why not go with the Regina Coeli of mid-20th century fashion?
The original lace veil wasn't knitted but it was utterly gorgeous, especially the huge pairs of bouquets marching up the center. I created a new motif–little primrose nosegays–and put them into a white-but-not-necessarily-bridal stole worked in undyed Lorna's Laces Helen's Lace. I liked the color of the undyed wool; it makes the finished work look gently aged, like a special-occasion piece that was carefully put away a generation ago for safe-keeping.
The short edges are self-scalloping and the long edges have a looped edge similar to one I first encountered, and loved, in Sharon Miller's Heirloom Knitting. Like Sahar, it's knit in two halves and grafted in the center. Unlike Sahar, there's no edging at all–when you're done, you're done.
Meanwhile, I've been working on something close to home–Abigail's bespoke poncho. But pictures of that will have to wait for the next entry, because the hookah's pooping out and I have to stop typing, get up off the chaise longue and scream for one of the servants to fetch me a fresh one.