Why Cashmere and Silk?

Early fall of 2011, I started two new hobbies, pinning and knitting. It all began when my boyfriend and I went on a weekend getaway to Williamsburg, VA. We stayed at a colonial style Bed and Breakfast on a cow farm. It was our first time vacationing this way and it was quite lovely. We hit up all of the obvious historical attractions and browsed some local boutiques. Among these boutiques was a yarn shop called Knitting Sisters. It was a good thing I had my iPad with me. It came in handy when my boyfriend who was patiently waiting for me, became bored to death, as I obsessively explored the yarn for two hours. It was then, that I realized I had just discovered a new love.

As for pinning, a client of mine suggested I join the website pinterest. It became the perfect website in order to create look books to enhance my consultations at work. I am a hairstylist so although, I mainly stick to creating different hair pinboards, I couldn’t help but create some others as well. Pinterest not only keeps me organized but in ways it exposes my identity and it has helped me discover some awesome blogs. It was actually bloggers that I found on pinterest that gave me the inspiration to start my very own, and now Cashmere and Silk exists.

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Another Cowl

I hope you enjoyed my previous posts on Frida Kahlo, and found some sort of inspiration, whether it was fashion inspiration, or artistic. But its time to get back to talking about knitting, and another cowl. 

Back in the fall, when I first started knitting, my first cowl I attempted to knit, was the Laser cowl, and it was then that I fell in love, with the ever so popular cowl trend. The Laser pattern, that I posted in previous posts, was a super simple pattern combo of knit and purl. It knit up fast and really showed off the beauty of the yarn, plus was accessorized with an amazing button, of your choice.

After, I completed the Laser cowl, I began to research cowls, to see what other types were out there, and I came across the, Cashmere Cowl, by Purlbee.

My cowl is a variation of the beautiful Pashmina Cowl from Joelle’s Last Minute Knitted Gifts. She used a smaller needle to knit Joseph Galler’s luxurious pashmina yarn in stockinette stitch.  — Isabelle

As you can see from the above quote, this cowl pattern found on their website is a variation of the one found in their book, Last Minute Knitted Gifts, which I later bought.

This cowl, not as chunky as the Laser, but is much more dainty and classic. I like this cowl, because it is again very simple, just a knitted tube! But when hand knitted with a luxurious yarn, such as Cashmere, it becomes a soft and warm, casual but graceful draping piece that can be worn daily. 

So try to knit this piece, and you too, will have a new hand knitted cowl in only a couple days, just like mine. 

I could not find a pure Cashmere yarn at my local yarn shop. So I used this silk and wool blend. It turned out really nice. I love the feel of silk blends and the shine silk adds to the yarn. 

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Frida is so much more than just an Artist from Mexico. In this photo spread, I am hoping to reveal her as a fashion icon. Check out her amazing hair. 

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Frida Kahlo

When I first started taking art classes as a young adult, I had an amazing art teacher, whose inspiration was Frida. Maybe it was then, that I too became in awe of the beautiful Mexican artist. Whatever, it may be, I find myself thinking of her often, when I draw, paint, create art. 

So last weekend, I headed over to Artisphere, which had an art exhibit featuring the fabulous Frida Kahlo. It was quite fascinating because the walls of the gallery were not covered by her work, but rather by her personal photos. 

By displaying her photos, viewers reached a better understanding of the truth behind her art. It made me say,”Oh so that is why she drew that…” I also always thought of Frida as untouchable, famous, brilliant, insane, but while looking at her photos I saw her, as a human, a woman just like myself. A woman, who has a father, mother, sisters, lovers, one that gets injured, feels pain, cares for animals, longs for children…

I never really noticed the fashion before in her self portraits. But that is all I could focus on when I stared photo after photo. Some of it, of corse went with the era, but others did not. I saw a woman wearing a one shoulder dress that was stunning. And although, most of the fashion was vintage it all had complicated details, showing it’s quality and expense. 

I compared a portrait of Frida, to her sister’s. The fashion revealed their opposite personalities. Her sister, was very classic, traditional, and well groomed. Frida on the other hand, had amazing fashion sense, with chunky jewelry, rings on each finger, and dangling earrings. 

I always thought Frida drew herself very ugly, but the photos reveal the opposite, I finally saw her as a true natural beauty. I am a hairstylist so of course I noticed the hair. Her hair was absolutely amazing and very feminine, braided, twisted, buns, ribbons, flowers.  Although, quite beautiful, and fashion forward, her facial hair made her seem quite masculine. The eyebrows that she later became known for, were wild and unkept.

Most of the photos were taken in the early 1900s. It totally impressed me, in how amazing the photos were and how well they held up.  The photos were beautifully taken, some by her father, who was a professional photographer, and actually some by Frida herself. 

The bottom line is , I found that I could really relate to this art exhibit. Although, the photos were old black and white and made by film, while current photos are in color and digital. Her’s may be an albums displayed on walls of a gallery, while ours’ may be displayed on a social networking site. But in the end, we all take photos to covet memories, to tell a story, and to share with others, while recording fashion, an era, a lifetime.  Times have changed so much, but have they really?

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Laser Cowl with Malabrigo yarn, super chunky, Rasta. 

My version of Laser, made with the yarn the pattern called for, Malabrigo Rasta. This is the same pattern design as my previous purple one in the previous blog post, however it is made from 100% merino wool compared to the 100% baby alpaca. As you can see, the purple baby alpaca one, is much more drapping and can be worn along the shoulders. As for this one, made from the merino wool, it is still soft, but has more structure to it, and is worn around the neck.

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This is one of my cowls I knitted using the Laser pattern. The cowl is knit with Merino Wool, but in this version I used a chunky alpaca yarn, that I found in the yarn shop, Knitting Sisters when I was in Williamsburg,VA . Alpaca is very soft and warm, because of it’s softness it drapes. 

Laser by Ashley N Aguilar

This pattern is by far one of my favorites of the season. It creates a very cool, chunky, texture, that really shows off the yarn’s, color and quality. I also love the button accessory… there are some fabulous buttons out there.  But ultimately this pattern proves that a simple combination of knit and purl stitches can make a very wearable and stylish piece. When wearing this piece, people were shocked it was handmade and not store bought, and it only took about three hours to knit. 

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Cowl Trend

The trend for Winter 2012 was the Cowl. For those that do not know, a cowl, is an accessory worn around the neck, similar to a scarf. However, unlike a scarf that has two ends that wrap around in several ways, the cowl, is connected, either by being knit together or by buttons. Most cowls are short and wide, but those that are longer become an infinity scarf.