I learned how to sew before I picked up a crochet hook and a pair of knitting needles. During the 60’s, the clothing industry did not design clothes with the “chubbie” girl in mind. I was fashion conscious and my parents were dollar conscious, so my mother taught me how to sew on her Singer. Proudly, I modeled my first sewn dress at eight years old. Flashback to the 60’s brings forward the visual memories of Twiggy’s large eyes and long eyelashes, the Mod tunic, psychedelic concert posters, and the peace sign. A world of bold organic and geometric shapes detailed with color as bold as the design.
On a recent trip to Eddie’s Quilting Bee http://www.eddiesquiltingbee.com/ in Mt. View, CA, I was drawn to the bold graphic design and color of a bolt of fabric from the collection of Etsuko Furuya. After selecting a pattern and purchasing the fabric I cruised on down the freeway excited to dust off the cover of my sewing machine and began to sew.
The more I manipulated the fabric, memories of the 60’s emerged. I was remined of Marimekko (meaning Mary’s frock) of Finland. Marimekko, a woman-owned company, woman-operated Finnish fabric design house that dominated fashions of the 60’s and 70’s. The company was founded in 1951 by Armi Ratia, the wife of a failed oilcloth factory owner. Armi had to have her husband secure a loan for her new venture because during the 60’s it was uncommon for a woman to attempt such a thing.
Jackie Kennedy chose to wear Marimekko for the U.S. Presidential Inauguration in 1960. The following website has an interesting post regarding Jackie Kennedy’s collection of Marimekko. http://irenebrination.typepad.com/irenebrination_notes_on_a/2013/01/spirit-of-a-dress-kennedys-museum.html
This weekend, my neighbor and artist, Joan Harvey http://www.joanharvey.com participated in Open Studio 2014. Walking up a black top driveway hidden behind a sliding garage door appeared an eclectic ensemble of women. Women of our time, your time, and their time expressed by creating a visual narrative through the absence of facial features, the presence of fashion and style.
Conversing with Joan inspired me to participate in Open Studio next year!
The grid-like appearance of mesh consists of open space and a network of lines. These spaces in a network are found in fashion from shoes to eyeglasses. What knit stitches could properly translate the visual of a mesh or grid-like appearance? While pondering the answer to this question, I found a book at my local library which may hold the answer. Reversible Knitting by Lynne Barr “adds something different to the stitch pattern references that many knitters may already own, and offer exciting new patterns with a reversible twist.” The chapter on Openwork, stitches 19-27 create open space using yarnovers and dropped stitches. Stitch 25, Half-Nelson or Stitch 22, Cane Lace present an opportunity to work in a mesh or grid-like pattern.