Knitting Traditions 2018 Lookbook

Knitting Traditions 2018 explores the turn of the century—the decades just before and after 1900—and celebrates the New Woman who aimed to live on her own terms.

The women’s rights movement, the dawn of a new century, and numerous other changes in the world filled some onlookers with despair and others with anticipation. This ambiguity echoes in the names people who lived through this time period gave it: La belle époque (the beautiful age) or Fin de siècle (end of the century). Yet both terms encompass the West’s unquestioned belief in progress: the sense that humankind was improving itself by embracing science, technology, and rationality. That belief came crashing down with World War I.

What else had changed in the world by 1900? Western nation-states rushed to establish colonies around the world, then performed diplomatic gymnastics to maintain their balance of power until everything fell apart in 1914. Technology greatly affected people’s quality of life, especially in cities. The Art Nouveau movement reacted forcefully against Victorian aesthetics all across Europe and the United States. Women recognized that Victorian norms no longer had to apply. These New Women agitated for voting rights and other freedoms; they adapted their wardrobes so they could travel, play sports, and take jobs outside the home.

In “Worlds Away,” you will meet several adventurous ladies. Cross the globe with Lady Barker, a travel writer, cooking instructor, and sometime sheep farmer. Visit the National Suffrage Fair of 1900 and sell handmade goods to raise money for women’s rights campaigns. Prepare for anything, from camping to leadership roles, with Juliette Gordon Low and her Girl Scouts. Then knit garments and accessories for all your adventures, from tea in the bush to a woodland hike.

“Art Nouveau” celebrates the more elegant and urbanized side of life. Watch Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Margaret Macdonald create new trends in architecture and décor with their Glasgow Style. Witness Paul Poiret’s reinvention of fashion—the clothes themselves and the industry—with flowing clothing for women and flamboyant lifestyle marketing. Finally, see how childhood experiences shaped the contrasting styles of Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli. Knit your own homage to these masters of fashion: you’ll find designs for tops, wraps, and even jewelry.

We hope you enjoy Knitting Traditions 2018, a special issue of PieceWork magazine. Happy knitting and reading!

Deborah Gerish, editor

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