Monthly Archives: February, 2014

Under the Gunn – Avant-garde Challenge

This week’s episode was a good one! The challenge was Avant-garde with a Steampunk twist. Several of the designers submitted very good designs and a couple of them clearly did not understand Avant-garde OR Steampunk. They ended up safe, anyway.

Natalia was robbed of a win this week. Robbed! She totally understood the challenge and her design was a marvel – it had a cape, a lovely gown with lace accents AND a mechanical device that changed the length of the hem! I’m not the only one who feels Natalia should have won, according to the poll here.

Sadly, I can’t find any pictures of Natalia’s model entering the runway with the cape on, but here’s the front of the dress:

And the back:

But what sent it over the top was the skirt-hem-adjuster:

Sure, she could have gone flashier, or randomly added Steampunk symbols, but she opted instead to create a look a Steampunk heroine would wear while chasing the bad guys – the anonymous cape to pull over her hair that can be flung off in an instant to follow her target into a party, where she cranks up her skirt before jumping out a window in hot pursuit. It was awesome!

The judges declared Shan the winner with this look:

Shan’s design was much more true to his style, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before, and don’t Steampunk girls generally wear skirts?

Oscar came in third with another magnificent gown:

If he hadn’t done the whole “revolution” thing with the train he might have taken the top spot, but he was just a little too over-the-top for the judges.

Once again Anya had to make the final decision about which of her designers went home and this time she made the right choice, sending Nicholas on his way.

Under the Gunn – Team Challenge

This week each team had three members, so you know it was time for a Team Challenge – not usually a favorite challenge for any designer.

I must admit when I saw the previews and heard Nick saying, “I cannot take responsibility for this – it’s ALL theirs!” I was worried. I know the show is edited to maximize drama, but this clip had me biting my nails (figuratively, of course!) to see the show.

The inspiration was “Pompeii” but the designers were instructed not to make costumes. All of the looks had to be wearable.

It wasn’t looking good during sketch time with Nick doing all the talking. It wasn’t looking good at Mood with Natalia and Stephanie brainstorming and picking coordinating fabrics and Oscar off doing his own thing. The first day in the workroom was a disaster, with Tim admonishing Nick to do something to pull his team back together. Oscar was not listening to or working with the girls and all of the designers were cutting eyes to Team Nick and shaking their heads.

The day of the runway saw Oscar have a change of heart – he was at last a member of a team and took charge to coordinate the designs. I feel he might have been a little heavy-handed, turning it into an Oscar Collection, but in the end it worked fabulously.

Natalia’s design was my favorite:

I’m never a fan of a “romper” but I love the way they all used the little metal studs to link the designs and the order the models went out onto the runway was genius – Stephanie’s romper first, Natalia’s gown, followed by Oscar’s pure white outfit – you could see the three designs were a collection very clearly. If only Oscar could have incorporated just a little hint of blue it would have been perfect, IMHO.

Oscar’s outfit was classic and wearable:

While Stephanie’s romper wasn’t to my taste, her coordination with Natalia with the fabric choice and Oscar with the square “cape” were beautiful:

Team Nick deserved to win and I hope it’s the first in a long line of many!

Sock Knitting 2014

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I’ve jumped on Knittingsarah’s  KAL for 2014 – to knit on a sock every day all year long, starting January 15. For those of you who have forgotten:

The goal of this KAL is to condition ourselves to incorporate sock knitting into our every day lives.

I was working on a sock when I joined and had a sock class scheduled, which went very well – both students knit a pair of socks with worsted weight yarn and were happy with their new skills. Last Friday the next class started (delayed a week because of snow) and Kristin is motoring along on her DK weight socks. Both classes elected to knit both socks at the same time rather than complete one and have to worry they would forget the techniques for the second sock and forever suffer from Second Sock Syndrome – that dreaded condition whereby a knitter only ever completes the first sock of the pair. I don’t understand, myself – the whole point is to knit a pair and wear them – anything else is just an educational exercise and wastes good yarn 🙂


Dirt brown DK weight socks. Nothing interesting here – only practical

There have been a few days that I did not knit on a sock, but I have knit most days of 2014, completing five hats (one of which disappeared completely* two of which were ripped out and re-knit because of design flaws that could not be overcome) and three socks so far.

Last week after class I was wandering around the shop, Knitty Gritty, looking longingly at the new Opal yarns Maurine had ordered, when I spied a single ball of something unique: Opal X-Large (the link leads to the exact colorway right at the top of the page – LOVE!!!) Hmmm…I love the colors and patterns of Opal yarn, but it’s fine and requires 72 stitches per round on US 0 or 1 needles and they simply take foooor-eeeveeeer to knit so I tend not to make fine socks. I buy my shoes a half size larger to make up for my sock knitting laziness, in case you need to know.

But this X-Large stuff is DK weight – only 56 stitches – totally do-able! I snatched up the ball and headed home to do some chores.

Over the weekend, I knit both Opal socks to the heel flap (can’t go farther until class, where I’ll use them to demonstrate the flap and heel turn for Kristin) and then picked up another bit of Stash** yarn and started a third sock. Last night I knit the forth sock of what is starting to look like a series in DK weight yarn to the heel flap and picked up the second sock of the most recent worsted weight pair, which is almost ready for the heel turn.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAWhew! That’s five socks on the go – a new personal record, I think. I’m usually monogamous with my sock knitting but the Opal has inspired me to get my sock drawer filled up before nicer weather drives me outside for the season.

So far the socks I’ve knit have been plain stockinette, samples for an upcoming pattern, but I’m feeling the draw towards a new cabled design, or maybe something with a simple all-over pattern suitable for beginners. It looks like my Knitting Mojo may have found its way home 🙂

* I suspect the cat has hidden it somewhere, along with a couple of single socks. I haven’t yet found his hiding place, which boggles the mind as we live in a 30-foot travel trailer and I’ve been re-arranging furniture for well over a week now. It couldn’t have just vanished into the ether, could it?

** There is quite a bit of nice wool yarn in The Stash and a rather embarrassing amount of handspun suitable for socks that should be used before buying any more yarn. Space is at a premium and I am determined! The Plan was going so well, four pairs of socks with the boring cream Phildar, the DK socks in dirt-brown that was originally marked for a sweater but refuses to even swatch properly, even the Opal bought I don’t even know how many years ago – yarn into socks, no money spent. This new Opal X-Large has totally de-railed my stash-busting plans. And last night Maurine told me that she’s ordered more…

Under the Gunn – Client Challenge

Last week’s episode of Under the Gunn was the Client Challenge. The designers were tasked to create an outfit for Zendaya to wear at an upcoming concert. Here she is a few months ago:

Not having any idea who Zendaya is, and not having watched any videos before the UtG episode, I was not at all sure what the designers would come up with. Natalia said she knew exactly what Zendaya wanted and designed this:

I love this look for a young performer who dances on stage and doesn’t want to have a wardrobe malfunction. Zendaya loved the ‘Z’ on the back and said she would wear it every day but that it wasn’t glam enough for the stage.

The judges were all over the place and none of them liked this look for the lead but thought it would be great for a backup dancer. Have they seen Zendaya in concert? Natalia’s look, IMHO, was exactly what you would expect to see from Zendaya in concert and some of the other designers went a little too glitzy and/or strange to match (admittedly my perception of) Zendaya’s style.

Asha won this challenge (and $5000!) with a really great look that all the judges loved. The winning outfit in concert:

Thank all that’s holy Isabelle went home! That woman is a train wreck and obviously didn’t understand what being on the show was all about – designing & sewing an outfit under a very tight time schedule while staying within the bounds of the weekly challenge AND allowing your own design aesthetic to show through using the experience and advice of a mentor who has already won Project Runway. Isabelle wanted to do what SHE thought was appropriate under HER OWN time schedule, going so far as to re-style her model’s hair (that didn’t make the final edit, but Nick talked about it on his blog) and sewing on her design until Tim Gunn dragged her model out of the sewing room! No respect for the competition, her mentor Nick, or the other designers. Good riddance!

Forgetting about Isabelle, Nick’s group did pretty well this week – Natalia hit the nail on the head (IMHO,) Oscar made a very stage-worthy design in a rocking red that would have been great if Zendaya was a few years older (I wonder if Beyonce called him up to buy it? 🙂 ) and Stephanie’s design was good, but her choice of fabric and lack of pants fitting techniques was unfortunate.

In the end, the person who should have gone home did and I expect this week’s episode to be much better if only because there won’t be any Crazy Isabelle in the work room.

Get Nick Verreos’ views on Episode 5 here.

Under the Gunn – Unconventional Materials

Last week’s design challenge on Under the Gunn was the unconventional materials challenge. The designers were given a ridiculously short amount of time to choose materials from piles in a darkened, foggy landscape –

The theme was “Unconventional Vampire,” something a woman would wear to the premiere of “Vampire Academy.”

We didn’t see much of Natalia this episode, which is just fine at this point in the competition – being in the middle of the pack is safe and much better than always being on the bottom. Of course, we’d love for her to be in the top, but have faith that she will be before long 🙂

I thought Natalia’s design was elegant and red carpet worthy. It showed off her style while still remaining true to the challenge and wearable – far from a costume.

Michelle was the clear winner, but Natalia should have come in second or third, IMHO – the other designers didn’t use as much unconventional materials or the designs were just boring. Too bad I’m not a judge 🙂

It was a bit cruel to make Anya responsible for the final decision as to which of her team members went home but it did make Under the Gunn stand out from the other Project Runways.

Mondo seemed rather lost and not able to advise his designers, which I did not expect. Anya did a good job mentoring, but she sure led Brady and Nicholas down the wrong paths with her definitive statements, landing them in the bottom three with a loud thump.

Thankfully Nick backed off and let his team do their thing, which was not easy considering Isabelle is insane and Oscar has a need to overdo everything. I wish we could see more of the designers, instead of the edited version – I think the whole story is much more interesting and resent the editing for drama content.

Go Team Nick!

Newport Spin-In Tales

DSCN0633Saturday’s Spin-In was a ton of fun, even if we didn’t make much money. All the Usual Suspects were there, spinning and talking a mile a minute. Our table:

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERASurprisingly, this being an event for spinners, our biggest sellers were stitch markers for knitting & crochet and greeting cards:

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERASabu and Endorsement Kitty were front and center until they were snatched up by happy customers.

We made some valuable local connections that will hopefully bear fruit in the near future. The only downside was that there was no Real Food on hand, and no hot water for tea!!! There were brownies (while they lasted) and danish and some really overpriced pre-made sandwiches, but nothing I wanted to eat. Maybe next year…