Sunday, April 16, 2017

knitting lisboa

Retrosaria (Portuguese for haberdashery) began as an online shop in January 2008. By the end of 2009 the physical location was opened at Rua do Loreto, in the heart of Lisbon. Rosa Pomar teaches classes at Retrosaria continues her field research of Portuguese textiles. As a result of her field work Retrosaria's Portuguese yarns are hand spun and dyed by skilled artisans using traditional tools and methods.Wonderful hand woven wool textiles and felted wools are available as well as traditional calicos. The usual wools are also stocked such as Jamiesons, Debbie Bliss, etc.and more exotic yarns such as Obrador Xisqueta produced from Spanish sheep in Catalonia. ecomodista spent an hour pouring over the indigenous yarns and textiles, and after buying various skeins, was pleased to learn that orders are often shipped abroad, and furthermore when there is time, a private session may be obtained with Pomar to learn the unique one needle technique of Portuguese knitting. 

Larada is a bulky knitting yarn produced exclusively from the wool of Portuguese Merino sheep, an indigenous breed found in the south of Portugal, especially in the Alentejo. south-central and southern Portugal. Literally,  defined as "beyond" (alémTagus river (Tejo). One of the largest cities is Tomar, created by the Knights Templar in the late 12th century. The Merino breed originated in the Iberian Peninsula, possibly before Roman times, and has always been highly prized by its finesse and softness.For centuries this Iberian wool was traded all over Europe while Merino sheep were subject to strict laws that kept the breed exclusive to the peninsula. The Portuguese Merino Breeders Association ANCORME verifies the origin and quality of the fleece used to produce this yarn.



Buildings clad in traditional azulejos/ceramic tiles are similar to the calico printed cottons traditionally produced in Portugal
photograph: from the mountains of Serra da Estrela, this lace weight yarn was traditionally spun for weaving.
photograph: Larada yarn and knit sample

photograph: another yarn shop, Lãs Imperial in Lisboa, closed when ecomodista visited

ChiCoração a shop near the cathedral, produces wonderful designs from Portuguese wool

photograph: colours of Lisboa


Friday, March 24, 2017

portuguese designers

While on the trail of Portuguese yarn, ecomondista discovered a wonderful boutique, ComCor near Avenida da Liberdad, where jewellery from Valentim Quaresma, clothing from Ricardo Preto, and shoes from Susana Traça who now works out of Milano may be found. Another young Portuguese designer, Ana Romero now in NYC, produces chic leather goods and are available at ComCor. Founded 5 years ago by Francisca Maltez, an architect, to reflect her interests in contemporary design and culture ranging from mid century furniture to clothing and graffiti, ComCor is on Portuguese fashionistas' lists.
photograph: interior of ComCor belies Maltez's architectural background
 photograph: facade of ComCor 
 photograph: interior of ComCor
photogrph: azulejos on building facade near ComCor
 photograph: hand knit cable sweater with gold lamé yarn at Ámélie Au Théâtre, a fun twist on Channel
 photograph: Ámélie Au Théâtre display window




Monday, March 6, 2017

bairro alto/principe real, lisboa

Exploring Bairro Alto and Principe Real in Lisboa on Saturday proved perfect. Vendors of local produce, honey, wines, and condiments filled the square's Mercado Biológico do Principe Real attracting chic locals and the random tourist. In this neighbourhood one may browse small boutiques offering Portuguese designers. Embaixada at Praça do Principe Real 26 inhabiting a turn of the 20th century building that is as alluring as it's vendors who stock only Portuguese products, including beautiful hand knits at Ecola.


photograph: carla breeze; farmers market Principe Real
photograph: carla breeze; boutique across the street from the Museu Nacional de História Natural e da Ciência Rua Escola Politécnica
photograph: carla breeze; street scene Principe Real neighborhood
photograph: interior of Lux Park Hotel, ecomodista's favourite minimalist design hotel in Lisboa
photograph: exterior azulejos (ceramic tiles) in Principe Real neighborhood























Sunday, March 5, 2017

50 shades of pink

Knitting is still hot, hot pink actually, as the pussy hat becomes entrenched after making the cover of Time Magazine and is scheduled to appear globally again on International Women's Day March 8. Appearing at demonstrations, town hall meetings (which are down dramatically this past congressional recess compared to when the Tea Party was setting the agenda instead of individuals terrified at losing their affordable health care and who are justifiably angry with conservative elected representatives who have health care paid by our taxes), or simply as personal political statement, the pussy hat is a  phenomenon. 
see:https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/15/casting-off-trump-the-women-who-cant-stop-knitting-pussy-hats


photograph: wayne decker, location: Marquês de Pombal Square, Lisboa, sweater stella mccartney vintage

The impact of an extensive sea of pink pussy hats at the Washington DC demonstration on January 21 to protest the "election" of a man known only as frump in ecomodista's household was instantaneous. The importance of this iconic knit hat was clearly established in images of  pink hats in DC, NYC, every state in the US and globally. Featured on the cover of New Yorker, and other media, the pussy hat represents not only feminism but humanitarian values. https://knittingbeforeknittingwascool.wordpress.com

Founded by Krista Suh & Jayna Zweiman of Los Angeles, the Pussy Hat Project see:https://www.pussyhatproject.com provides instructions for knitting this hat, however flat which required seaming 3 sides. It became evident to ecomodista that variations were all about the ears, from crocheted hats to knit with shaped ears. Knitting in the round is most viable for the Continental method, so ecomodista quickly began experimenting, only to discover that the yarn was the critical element, that and using a smaller needle to give the textile firmer shape. The pattern provided below reflects these changes. The yarn was purchased in Münster, Germany at Violá, Ludgerstrasse 61 in the old city.  Known for their huge array of buttons Violá also stocks wonderful yarns produced regionally, and the yarn economodista purchased was quite chunky, a mohair, wool, and alpaca mixture for knitting with an American size 13 or 14 needle.


photograph: wayne decker, location: Parque Eduardo VII, Lisboa, sweater stella mccartney vintage (honestly I didn't run around all day posing in my hat)

On a size 10 circular needle cast on 52 stitches with chunky yarn usually knit with size 13 or 14 needle (60 stitches for medium and 68 for large), begin knitting in the round avoiding a mobius when connecting circle, ribbing k2 p2 for 10 rows, 12 rows for medium and 13 for large. Change to stockinette stitch for another 23 row, 25 for medium and 26 for large. Divide hat in half onto two needles, then turn inside out to knit with third needle the cast off, be certain stitches are sufficiently loose that one may use a needle in each corner when turning back to right side so that "ears" are sufficiently pointed.