Saturday, April 27, 2013

The joys of Burda

Look what I'm doing!
Wow, the Burda Style  patterns are challenging to trace off now. Last time I made something from the Burda magazines the patterns were spread out over two sheets - now they're all piled onto one. And it might still have been called Burda World of Fashion, it was that long ago.

I miss my cutting table. I probably should have brought it but I was worried about not having enough room. At least I have adequate floor space and no one lives below me so I don't have to be careful about clanging my hardware-store pattern weights or my scissors.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Tiny sweaters

My nephew's wife had twins in January so I got my knitting needles out and made two tiny sweaters with matching hats.

Twin sweaters
Yarn: Cascade Fixation
Needle Size: 4
Sweater pattern: Child's Placket-Neck Pullover by Joelle Hoverson available in the book Last Minuted Knitted Gifts or here for free.
Hat pattern:
  • Cast on 73 stitches on circular needles
  • Join yarn, place a marker, and knit a seed stitch border:
    • Row 1: *K1, P1*, repeat * to *
    • Row 2: *P1, K1*, repeat * to *
      Repeat rows 1 and 2 two more times for a total of 6 rows
  • Knit all rows until hat measures 3 3/4 inches
  • Begin decrease rows
    • Row 1: *K4, K2tog*, repeat * to *
    • Row 2: Knit all stitches until last 2 stitches before marker, K2tog
    • Row 3: *K3, K2tog*, repeat * to *
    • Row 4: Knit all stitches
    • Row 5: *K2, K2tog*, repeat * to *
    • Row 6: Knit all stitches
    • Row 7: *K1, K2tog*, repeat * to *
    • Row 8: Knit all stitches
    • Row 9: K2tog all stitches
    • Row 10: Knit all stitches
  • Draw up remaining stitches and secure.
 Flower pattern: available here

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Adding to the knitting and sewing stash

There's no shortage of yarn here in Germany. There are of course stores that sell yarn, but yarn is also sold in the department stores and sometimes even in the discount grocery. Many of the yarns I like and bought in the states are from Germany: Regia, Austermann, Opal, Schoppel, Schoeller+Stahl... to name a few. There are also small, independent dyers and spinners to supply knitters with unique yarns. So even though I wasn't able to go to Stitches this year, I am more than able to add to my stash.

I recently went to a Wollfest (wool festival) in Backnang, Germany. It was tiny compared to the Stitches mega-yarnfest. But I had a great time exploring it with some new knitting friends. We shopped, we lunched, we knit, we chatted. All good!

This is what came home with me:

In addition to shopping locally, I also shop for souvenir yarn, as well as sewing magazines and fabric, when I travel. Last weekend we were in Brussels. Its close proximity to the Netherlands and France enabled me to purchase a Knipmode magazine, which I don't find in the newstands in Germany, a special Idees Couture magazine/book combo, and an interesting "yarn" from the Netherlands.

The "yarn" from the Netherlands is actually strips of 50% cotton/50% polyester fabric. I don't think it would make a very good knitted garment, since I think it would be heavy and stiff, so I intend to knit a basket of some sort. I also think I might use some for trim on a top.
The Idees Couture magazine/book combo looked interesting but it turned out to be a little disappointing. The combo was encased in plastic so I couldn't look through it before I bought it. I was hoping for some simple yet structurally interesting garments but it turns out that everything is really just simple. It doesn't help that many of the garments are much too large for the models in the pictures or the fabric looks too stiff - or both. For example:

I might actually use the first dress pattern, without the sleeves, as a nightgown. The second dress has an interesting detail of stitching that is not showcased at all in the photograph. There are some other possibilities among the 35 patterns included between the book and magazine, but they must be traced off from the usual confusion of overlapping patterns on a large sheet of paper. Oh, and the instructions are in French. :-)

Monday, April 01, 2013

Window shopping in Stuttgart

It was a lovely, sunny day in Stuttgart today, and all of the stores were closed for the Easter holiday, so I thought it'd be a perfect opportunity to do some window shopping to see what the styles are for spring. Unfortunately the sunshine made it a little difficult to take pictures through the store windows, but maybe you can see the images ok.

Floral prints - and color - are everywhere! Blouses, skirts, dresses, pants...
I particularly like the use of black at least on the sleeves and sides of the dress (don't know if extends to the back), to tone down the print.

Hard to photograph with the sunshine, but there was a whole lot of floral going on here, including the backdrop.
I do like this jacket, but I would wonder how versatile it is. But if you're buying cheap "throw away" fashion then you don't care. I think this jacket was around 100 Euro - not cheap but not outrageous.

Lots of green - and prints.
I saw a surprising number of pants in prints.

This was a high end store - I think the jacket is about 1400 Euro. Those are some healthy shoulder pads in that jacket!

This was Zara - the printed jacket is a bit much, but oh my, what is that mannequin in the back wearing? A vest, a strip of fabric as a top and is that a super short skirt? It's actually shorts. Bleh. I don't think the pants on the front mannequin are all that attractive either. But next week Zara will have something else in the window.

There was other, non-print or brightly colored clothing. Here is your basic black dress with a beaded neckline. Very pretty. Too bad I couldn't get a better picture of it.  

I like the top of this white dress. It looks a bit odd with the no-hip mannequin, but I think the fabric detail of the top of the dress would do nicely to balance out a "real" woman's hips. (And yes, that's my reflection on the left, taking the picture with my cool, yellow Nokio Lumia 920 phone)

Another bad photo and it's not a display window so it's harder to see the dress, but I liked the seams on the front.

I believe this look is called "Lagenlook" - you'll have to look it up, I couldn't find a good site (in English) that explained it. Basically it's layering, but I think there can be a fine line between looking like you threw on lots of clothes because you're cold and looking chic. I do admire women who can pull this off.

Valentino made a table cloth and someone thought it was a skirt. Really. This is Valentino. You can't really see the texture of the fabric in this photo but to me it looked just like polyester table cloth. This store is high end but they have some pretty ugly things. I should have taken a photo of the harlequin print man's jacket in the other window.

Even though the tag on the dress clearly says Valentino", I had to check online to see if it really is and yes, here's a longer version. Still looks like a tablecloth.

Frühlingfest is coming up and it's time to get those Dirndls and Lederhosen out! I am actually going to try to make one this year, using the patterns they publish in the September Burda issues that prompt people to wonder who would make and wear such things!

Remember when ripped and torn jeans became fashionable and people paid a lot of money to buy "new" ripped and torn jeans. Well now you can apparently buy scuffed up sneakers. I thought these shoes were a prop, but no, they are selling for 169 Euro, scuffed toes included.
I thought it was a mistake, but there were others. These have darkened impressions in the top where your toes would be. See what your money can buy you?
And speaking of what your money can buy you, I am not into designer purses. I can't understand why people pay so much for them. In Europe they often include the prices of the items in the window. I'll let you figure out what costs what at Louis Vuitton. The tall bags are about the size of a small shopping bag and the smaller clutches look about the size of pencil cases. Maybe they are pencil cases.

And finally, I'll leave you with this non-fashion-related display. I loved this "door" display. It looks like the sheep are just waiting to get out. And I love sheep.