Winter Uniform

110318_0082Now that it is almost spring –  it is high time to put up a photo of the personal uniform I’ve been wearing this winter!  But the disclaimer is that I do so much physical labor, I’ve actually gotten sort of precious with the uniform and usually wear it “out” – like when I’m in public – but not in the studio.  Which defeats the purpose of having a uniform – right?  Or maybe needing some legitimate work clothes is actually just an excuse to try a bunch of new designs before winter is officially over.  Here are some new sweater/poncho things that I’ve made to wear with jeans when I’m trying to keep warm at work.  (ok – so the amber necklace isn’t really work gear – but I found it at Pioneer Crossing last week when I was looking for accessories for the shelves we just made for the show in Berlin).

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New Fall Uniform

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I started this top last spring, in part as a technical exercise to see if I could begin with a cross, and then work it outward to four corners, sew up the shoulders and end up with a top.  Though I’m really not sure what I was thinking with that colors scheme!   And finally, now, it is done. The problem is that it isn’t something that I would wear. I’m not sure if it is the candy colors or the pop references of the pattern, but I would go nuts if I had to wear this for a whole season.

So how to make a new fall top in a pinch?  Re-inspired by conversations about finger crochet techniques with the Von Tundra Crew when they were here for their event (they made great lamps with finger crochet netting to diffuse the light) I decided to throw together a new top using an organic undulating single and half double finger stitches.  I love the effect that this creates, and was able to make a new “uniform” in just a few days.  The problem was when I got it wet to block it into shape, it totally expanded and got huge, like a big 1070s tunic.  I guess that the stitches were so loose they just totally stretched out and lost their delicacy and complexity.

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So I did something that I hate it when knitters or crochetters do – I tossed it in the washing machine and felted it up (always thought that the washing machine felting technique was was totally a form of cheating).  Then I stretched the still damp result over a dress form and it actually turned out sort of awesome.   Next up will be one in brown done mostly with single crochet stitches to see if I can tighten up the weave a bit, stay posted.

New Panels for GFKAS

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Two new panel garments for our GFAS (the group formerly known as smockshop) sale in Portland Maine next month! This design is really wide so it drapes over your arms like sleeves.

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And I’ve been having a long-running inner idealogical debate about whether the garments should be one single panel folded over, like this, with a cutout for the head –

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or two panels stitched together like this.  So I tried one of each.

Summer Uniform

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It’s not the greatest photo because I couldn’t get the self timer to work right with autofocus – but this is the Summer Single Strand Uniform.  I’ve been wearing it a few months, but kept making changes.  Longer – shorter – sleeveless – sleeves a little longer…. by now the whole thing has been pretty much dialed in.  The uniforms have been going on since 1991.  At first each one lasted six months – but now they generally go for a season (three months). So right now there is this dilemma because I’m also making these new panel garments (as part of GFKAS) – so it becomes an daily debate about sticking through the season in the summer top, vs wanting to check out the functionality of the different dimensions/shapes of panels.  Plus the lighter weight linen panels tops are pretty darn comfortable in the heat.

First FKAS Product

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After the project “smockshop” was archived we realized that we were really going to miss working together.  So we started a new group called “formerly known as smockshop” – or more casually referred to as FKAS.  Our new products won’t be entirely clothing based and will eventually be available for sale both at pop-up sales, and via an on-line store.  And since every startup I’m involved in has a rule, so does this one.  The dictate for FKAS is that all of the products have to be made in the form of a rectangle – so each item is a “panel” of one sort or another – though these are all intended to be useful objects (similar to the “A-Z Personal Panels”, “A-Z Carpet Furniture”, and “A-Z Cover” pieces that I have made in the past).  Each member of FKAS is supposed to come up with their own panel product line so I’m trying out a new and very simple pattern that is loosely based on Guatemalan Huipil.  Here is my second try (sewn out of left over fabric from the bathroom curtain) – I thought that the first turned out great until I realized that the neck was sewn in crooked.. dang!