Rib as decoration: SABA AW 2011

I love knitting, so I’m always keeping an eye on knitwear in the shops. I guess the shops I’m walking past each day would be classified as the Australian ‘high street’ (whatever that term really means) or perhaps contemporary designer? Must say the knitwear I’m seeing has improved, compared to around 5 years ago when I first started taking note. I’m not seeing so many knits stretching and sagging off the hangers, these days.

Clever knitwear always makes me smile. Here, I like the idea of ribbing used as contrast and decoration, not just as utilitarian edging. The ribbing’s curved, even along the shoulders in a kind of boatneck style. I often appreciate fashion ideas that might be somewhat awkward to wear … but this isn’t one of them. The ribbing gives a little more style to an otherwise simple, neat jacket.

The photo is from SABA, about a month ago. The next day they covered the mannequin with an even bigger scarf, so I couldn’t see the knitwear detail anymore. I suppose the jacket’s probably on sale now or even sold out (I can’t see it in their online store).

Glad I’m not a cat: Curiosity #001

Elly from green olives design recently wrote about Lands’ End and L.L. Bean. What got my interest was the shoulder seam on one of the knits she showed: it’s rotated to the back. (Above, courtesy Lands’ End). The arm joins the shoulder as usual.

I’ve seen this before on commercial knits, but never really thought about it. What’s the purpose? Eliminating bulk? Just a style thing?

Then I started thinking about hand knits: is there any technical reason why you can’t rotate the shoulder seam on a hand knit? I had a look through quite a few of pages on Ravelry (social site for hand knitters, with a huge user-created database of patterns). I couldn’t see any examples of this type of shoulder, although they may exist. I wonder why it’s not common?

Knitwear at the shops for a Sydney Autumn

King St knitwear

I went to the city (Sydney CBD) today, meaning to find some knitted inspiration. It’s Autumn here, and getting colder. Surely there should be something in the shops to inspire a handknitter who also likes fashion? Meh, not so much.

This season’s colours are clearly grey and beige (and black, of course, I can’t imagine black ever going out of fashion here). I mean: purples, coral red, a little navy and misc. jewel tones are used in other clothing, just not much for knits. Knits get the boring colours. Great.

By ‘knit’, I mean ones I could be inspired by. Sure, sure, I know fine jerseys, T-shirt fabrics and so on are knits, but they couldn’t reasonably be made by a hand. So I’m really talking knits made of laceweight or thicker yarn. Yes, I know that’s an odd classification, but I’m sticking to it, leastways until I get a knitting machine …

Fair isle is out. Cables and textures, particularly chunky knit, are in. Garter, or at least reverse-stocking stitch, make an appearance (oh, and Country Road lined their knits for stability this year, much less sad and saggy!)

Shapes, as bland as the colours. Plenty of fine gauge turtle-necks and V-necks that say: “Don’t look at me, I’m only for layering purposes!” Long loose cradigans, Starsky-style. Ponchos, kimono-sleeves, wraps galore. Curve-front boleroes, similar to Kate Gilbert’s famous Sunrise Circle Jacket. Or like the cover of the current Vogue Knitting. I guess I wanted something more … innovative? … novel? Not in a recession.

But what about the photo, I hear you say. Interesting diagonal lacy panels. Texture (and, sure, beige). Well, I saw it a few weeks ago in Just Feathers boutique, King Street, Newtown. End of Summer stock, I assume. The label is SunnyGirl, it was the last one, I hadn’t the heart to ask the shop assistant to unpin it, take it off the dummy just so I could exmaine the knitting … pity …