Australian Knitting

Winter Fashion

- By Susan Cordes

“Everybody tells me that they would love to knit, but they don’t have time. I look at people’s lives and I can see opportunit­y and time for knitting all over the place. The time spent riding the bus each day? That’s a pair of socks over a month. Waiting in line? Mittens. Watching TV? Buckets of wasted time that could be an exquisite lace shawl; ~Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit’s End: Meditation­s for Women Who Knit Too Much”…

Wintertime is the best time to knit for many people, (although a ‘knitaholic’ would say any time is knitting time!) so pick up your knitting needles and brighten up the gloomy weather with some great fashion knits in neutral, bright or earthy colours for this cold season and beyond into the beautiful spring.

Fashions this season include, knitted socks, knitted slippers, knitted waistcoats, scarves, hats, caps, headbands, gloves, sweater dresses and knitted coats and the revival of the Aran sweater.

Always great with leggings and very flattering for women of all shapes and sizes – the sweater dress is still very popular in 2012, along with the new styles of knitted coats, oversized cardigans worn with belts so that they hug the body. Take a look at this gorgeous bright yellow sweater (Beth

– Sweater in Golden Sea) by Marc Jacobs http://www.revolveclo­ to give you some ideas.

Socks are full on this season (no pun intended); knee-length and over the knees and the hand knitted variety will fit the bill. You can knit up some of these little beauties with convention­al needles, DPNs or a knitting loom. Most sock patterns are aimed at the intermedia­te to advanced knitter, yet once you learn how – it will amaze you how quickly they grow and what a sense of satisfacti­on you gain. Hand knitted socks, seem to be much warmer, more comfortabl­e, wear longer and don’t shrink, than factory made – perhaps I am just biased!

In the same area (on the feet!) are knitted slippers – these are becoming more and more popular whether knitted in plain or ‘jazzy’ yarn. Knitted slippers are great to slip into your suitcase as they take no space at all and are a boon to wear to walk on cold hotel bedroom floors! Knitted slippers are very easy to make and the great thing is that you can tailor them to fit you exactly and in the colours you love. If you are using a ‘flutter’, ‘Firework’ or ‘Jazzy’ yarn it is a good idea to use a plain yarn with it so that you are knitting the two yarns together. The plain yarn acts as a ‘carrier’ for the thin, textured yarn and helps to keep the slippers in shape.

Hats, Caps and Beanies – are a seasonal must. Even intarsia patterned knitted hats are the go. Layering for fashion and warmth will work again this season, especially with capes and shawls. Try fastening your cardigan or shawl with an oversized needle, brooch or loop fastening. Check out http://donnawilso­ for some funky creations.

Scarves will be seen everywhere, wound several times around the neck or left loose and dangling. Narrow scarves can be knotted around the neck or fixed with a pin or brooch.

The seasons’ scarves are not simple – they should contain embellishm­ents and detail such as eyelets, pom poms and beading and should be super soft and of course warm! Chunky hat and scarf combinatio­ns will be warm and ‘trendy’. Basically the aim is to make a fashion statement.

Glove fashions lean towards patterned knitted gloves and cuff warmers, with the gloves having a longer look and extending up the arm. Nordic and the traditiona­l Alpine style of patterning is an important design in the season’s accessorie­s along with the many Aran associated stitches. If you are a beginner, try knitting mitts to start with, as this will ‘ease’ you into the glove-knitting club!

Colours for winter 2012 go from the natural earthy tones (mainly browns)

to beige, cream and rust. These are typical colours of winter and can be used with grey, vanilla, bold vermilion, warm red, sunshine yellow, blue, purple or winter cream.

The revival of the Aran sweater or cardigan is great news. Historical­ly, each family or clan had their own particular pattern, which was passed down from mother to daughter. With some clans putting initials into the pattern. For a look at some amazing Aran sweaters and cardigans take a look at , which showcases ‘Clan Arans’.

Aran sweaters or cardigans are so long lasting - I have one that was knitted in 1992 and still looks great and washes well every season. It is great to snuggle into on a cold evening. Aran sweaters or cardigans should be knitted in 100% wool (organic wool is even better, or wool from a Jacob sheep), so that the garment retains its warmth.

If you feel that it is too daunting to knit an Aran sweater, cardigan or shawl – how about trying an Aran handbag and include cables, moss stitch and ice stitches; or how about a knitting bag? These projects are much smaller – yet you would still learn the stitches, work out your tension, how to handle the yarn and washing care etc. and gain the experience and skill to then move up to a larger project.

As the warmer spring weather returns, take care of your sweaters and cardigans by storing them in an airtight container, with a lavender bag and a couple of those small silica crystals bags to make sure no moisture is in the box.

As the winter gives way to the spring and the warmer days – it is time to check out what is on the fashion board for the next season – wool and baby alpaca will be popular yarns to choose and a pattern with an ‘open knit’ look. Spring colours melt from the winter traditiona­l colours into the soft pastels and neutrals with a flash of bold colour. Rainbow and crayon colours abound.

Neutral colours work throughout winter and spring in 2012. Neutrals are always a favourite no matter what the season or fashion, as they look simple, chic and elegant. Coffee, cream, sand, taupe, white, rust all work together and with many other colours in your wardrobe.

Stripes are very popular from the soft toned stripes of Jason Wu’s styles to the bold and bright designs of Tommy Hilfiger. Chanel jumps in with very narrow stripes. Striped designs cover not only sweaters and cardigans, but also knitted skirts and knitted dresses. Derek Lam’s collection for the season also included a number of lightweigh­t sweaters and knitted dresses. Crocheted skirts are also in the fore.

The oversized sweater is still in the fashion mix for winter and spring 2012 and is really a trend that started in autumn. The good news is that oversize sweaters look good on everyone – just put with a fitted skirt or trousers. Remember that knitwear is not just for the colder weather - knitwear can be made up in a breathable, lightweigh­t garment if you choose cotton, linen or bamboo yarn.

If you are interested in the knitting and fashion industry there is a great new book coming out this year by Sandy Black entitled: “Knitting: Fashion, Industry, Craft”.

This fascinatin­g book charts the developmen­t of knitting from a domestic handicraft to today’s sophistica­ted computer controlled factories. The book has many photograph­s including some from the wonderful Victoria and Albert museum in London of knitted fashions and artifacts along with some stunning new images.

Finally, whether you are a beginner in the world of knitting or an advanced knitter, there is something in the knitted fashion mix for this season and beyond for everyone, and don’t forget to take your knitting needles and yarn with you wherever you go – there is always time to knit – somewhere, somehow, some time!

 ??  ?? Half Zip Wool Troyer Sweaters
Half Zip Wool Troyer Sweaters
 ??  ?? Above left: Crazy Socks
Above middle: Handicraft Shoes Above right: Textured Scarf
Above left: Crazy Socks Above middle: Handicraft Shoes Above right: Textured Scarf
 ??  ?? Roll Tunic Sweater
Roll Tunic Sweater
 ??  ?? Buttoned Merino
Buttoned Merino
 ??  ?? Fringe Cape
Fringe Cape
 ??  ?? Childs ‘Cat’ Mitts
Childs ‘Cat’ Mitts
 ??  ?? Hand Knitted Slippers
Hand Knitted Slippers

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