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The knittiest Olympics: Studio Notes #37

It's not just me, is it? Knitting really made itself felt in Pyeongchang, warming the proverbial cock
Studio Miranda
The knittiest Olympics: Studio Notes #37
By Studio Miranda  • Issue #37 • View online
It’s not just me, is it? Knitting really made itself felt in Pyeongchang, warming the proverbial cockles as well as actual athletes. Whether you joined a Ravellenics team and immersed yourself in the Olympic frenzy, or just caught a moment here and there, I’m sure you enjoyed those flashes of wool as much as I did. 

Photo by Cait Caulfield
Photo by Cait Caulfield
Most prominently, the Finnish team were spotted wielding needles beside the slopes, and confirmed via Twitter that they had a team project on the go: a baby blanket for the presidential family. (Thanks to another Finnish tweeter I learned the word neuloosi – meaning “compulsive need to knit”, a play on the words for knitting and neurosis. You’re welcome.) And The Guardian seemed surprised to imagine British gold medallist Lizzy Yarnold winding down with knitting, but I mean, clearly. Then there was the Canadian snowboard uniform: the jackets were designed and hand-knit by a First Nations artist, then printed onto a corn-based technical fabric. Tradition beautifully blended with modern technical sportswear needs – I love it. Another reason to love Canada: they hosted a Pride House at the Games. Nothing to do with craft, just awesome.
Oooooooh FASHION
Portrait by Amy Sherold for the National Portrait Gallery
Portrait by Amy Sherold for the National Portrait Gallery
I’ve been reading and thinking a lot about fashion and style as communication. This Politico piece argues convincingly that in Michelle Obama’s official portrait, the key point is the dress – by a politically outspoken black designer, and referencing a specific African American crafting history. And designer Walé Oyéjidé, who created a striking scarf seen in Black Panther, gave an eloquent TED talk about the importance of fashion as a revolutionary vehicle: as story-telling, subversion, re-centring. 
I also really liked this Seamwork article on exploring your personal style through examining your history, values and identity. Most of the time we don’t think about our wardrobe in these terms, yet these aspects are deeply embedded in our choices. I mentioned recently on Instagram that I’ve been increasingly gravitating towards using black or grey as an outfit backdrop, with colour accents; viewed through this lens, I think it reflects how I’m placing more value on simplicity these days. At the same time I miss the more expressive, romantic way I used to dress when younger. (You can see that in my “Miranda’s Wardrobe” pinboard, which I use as a design reference. It’s how I’d dress if not constrained by current lifestyle, budget or body shape!)
I could easily lose hours browsing Google’s We Wear Culture project – I’ve linked to it before but there’s already a lot more content. (This is a good overview.) And I love how the very name of the resource makes the point that it’s not “just” fashion: it’s a multilayered expression of influences from art, music and society, and part of how we construct and interpret identity. 
And finally
Unusually on-topic for me, can we have a quick word about swatching? I’m sure you know that your tension can be different in the round compared with flat – this is usually ascribed to the purl rows. But I’ve noticed that small circumferences in the round – like sleeves – can show much looser tension than larger round pieces. This was particularly striking in Pavonis; I had to go down two or three needle sizes to get a fabric that matched the body, and so did a number of testers. Recently I saw someone else make a similar comment about a different project. So, firstly, watch out for that! And secondly, I’m curious to hear other people’s experiences. Have you noticed the same thing? Is there any difference between using DPNs or magic loop? Let me know!
In my next newsletter I’ll be ready to show you my newest design, and it’s one I’m really excited about. Till then – happy making!
Robynn
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Studio Miranda

Inspiration and food for thought for crafters, from yarn twiddler Robynn Weldon.

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