Process vs Product

While I continue on my journey of cotton lace knits for Summer it got me thinking of something I once read on a knitting forum. Knitters are generally either inspired by the process of knitting or by the finished product.

I can definitely say I am product motivated! Knitting doesn’t calm me, hand knitting a large item isn’t a way to simply fill my time or occupy idle hands. I don’t sit in a rocking chair savouring each stitch, revelling in repetitive movements.

What I do revel in however is the pure creative process. I do very much appreciate learning new techniques and understanding the mechanics behind each stitch formation. I love how yarn can be transformed from a lifeless cone to an inviting jumper full of character and grace. I knit quickly, almost as if I am in a rush, because really I am.

Since teaching myself how to make patterns there has been a lot of trial and error projects. It’s a steep learning curve! However once a project starts I am always so exited to get to the finish line, sew the item up and try it on. There is truly nothing like the feeling of putting on a newly completed item, especially if it has turned out as planned, and like all strong sensations the urge to repeat the process is overwhelming.

I’m now chanelling my creative skills towards dress making, and after a few trips to the Marché St Pierre in Paris I am ready to get sewing. Like my knitted items I am looking to make clothes that are easy to wear but make you stand out in the crowd!

I like the idea of items that have longevity, there is so much fast fashion out there, I believe if you are going to purchase handmade it should be for something you can’t get on the high street and something you are going to wear season after season. Of course it remains important to stay current and fresh and I hope to be able to live up to these ideals going forward with all Atelier Boyceau creations.

As always, Watch this space!

blossom

Project bridesmaid cover up.

So I am very excited to be a bridesmaid at the end of November for my very good friend back in the North of England. I was very lucky that I was there when she chose the bridesmaids’ dresses, and was very happy with the final choice. Originally the bride was going to order them from the bridal shop but when we saw the choice, cost and quality of the ready to wear dresses in the department store we were blown away. She also had her wedding dress with her that day so trying on dresses and seeing how they went with her dress was key to choosing right (lots of “ahhs” in the changing room that day!).

There are 4 bridesmaids in total and 2 of us are wearing this beautiful navy “lori lee” dress from Coast, while the other 2 will wear the long version in light grey. The bride decided not to have us all in the same so to add variety to the colour palette of the day. Good choice!  The other bridemaid and I are “petite” hence the short version  (thankfully!) and we have decided on pairing it with nude court shoes, and tan tights.

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The sheer overlay drapes beautifully and the sparkle detail on the waist ribbon goes perfectly with the sparkle on the bride’s dress. The bride’s dress is very unusual, white long fitted 20’s inspired plunge neck and back with short net drop sleeves and lots of clear rhinestone detail so the bridesmaids need to be simple and elegant. The bride will be wearing a fake fur grey stole on the day, très chic!

Et voilà! Pretty perfect I’d say! (Promise to post a picture of the final day, her dress is a MUST SEE).

So the discussion turned to cover ups as it is sure to be very cold on the day, may even snow! Some suggested pashminas, some suggested nothing (Northern spirited of course) but I am certain we will be happy of a jacket or a cardigan. But what would you put with this dress to compliment, not over power? Something subtle but worthy of the day? And of course something you will wear again. Nothing in the shops, little online. As always I tell myself “If in doubt, make it yourself”.

I had wanted to develop a short boxy knitted jacket for a while, it is a project that I had wanted to add to my Atelier Boyceau range, so this was the perfect opportunity to try it out. Combining 2 separate patterns and adapting to the chosen yarn (Phildar 55% lambswool in Caban navy) I was able to come up with this:

CIMG3299 I was extremely happy with how my pattern worked out (seems I am ok at maths after all) and the measurements were perfect for me. I used my manual knitting machine LK150 to make the 5 main pieces (decreasing along the edges of the front and back panels to create shaping) and hand finished all edges in a thick band of moss/seed stitch.

So now to make it really earn its place at a wedding……

CIMG3305Having been unsuccessful at matching the beads from the waistband exactly I ordered a variety of glass beads from Cultura and away I went…..

I was in 2 minds whether to put the beading around the collar rather than the front but in the end it helped to give rigidity to the front to enable it to hang better.

For the matching bridesmaid I ensured I made the sleeves longer on version 2, wider shoulders, and to flatter her shape I added claps to the front that she can choose to do up or not.

CIMG3317CIMG3295So there we have it, very happy with how they have turned out! Is so satisfying to see the final result! I think the sparkles set off the waist band perfectly and we certainly won’t freeze!

I have improved my skills and now have the confidence to start making similar versions for the shop.

Imagine red wool with gold thread knitted throughout, gold border with mutli coloured bead work all around the collar……COMING SOON!

Please visit my shop and receive free shipping on all orders until December 31st 2013 with this code:

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Thanks for reading, let me know what you think x Alexandra

Bienvenue chez moi.

entrance

I am very lucky to live in the beautiful city of Versailles. We are also very lucky to be experiencing such good weather for this time of year! Most trees are still green and the few that have started to change add amazing yellow and orange accents to the scenery.

I live in a flat on the top floor of an amazing old house, and literally there is inspiration all around! The building itself has an impressive exterior; pale grey roof tiles, orange and beige brick with eye catching blue and yellow wall tiles all surrounded by an immense, overgrown wild garden.

Our apartment is flooded with natural light and we have filled it with bright furnishings, the block colours and patterns work perfectly with our natural oak furniture and wooden parquet flooring. Old meets new; stone fireplace, retro sofa, old oak chest, abstract prints of our favourite artists on the wall, and it wouldn’t feel alive without sharing the space with our beloved house plants (the poor Yucca didn’t make our last house move). It seems that as different as me and the Belge are we certainly agree when it comes to our little “nid d’amour”!

For me, working on my handmade items environment is everything. A large 50’s sideboard hides drawers stuffed with fabric, yarn, tools and books. As much as I need a proper workshop space I am currently making do with the dining table. Got to adapt and make it work, and I am getting on surprisingly ok. Helps immensely that it is incredibly quiet here, and no one to complain about me singing at the top of my voice while I work.

My previous post shares a few photos of what I am looking at everyday (apart from the photo of the knitted outdoor stool, an example of yarn bombing over in the UK-Cockermouth. Was amazed to notice it in the street back in Feb, something quite absurd looking proudly like it belonged there, no one seemed phased by it, I of course was utterly fascinated!). There is something quite calming about being surrounded by pretty things. France is certainly the right country for that, aesthetic beauty is engrained in their culture, everything should look beautiful, from the women to the pastries, the buildings to the strategically planted trees. No going shopping in your joggers! Well not in the capital anyway..

Talking of shopping, would you consider a curly cabbage and a butternut squash exotic? The checkout girl today had no idea what they were…..