What’s Outside Your Door

So, I’ve been a bit of a shut-in recently. I leave my apartment to go to choir rehearsal, the hospital(s) and to the pharmacy. That’s about it. I don’t even grocery shop – other people cook meals for me. I haven’t been out and about on the street for a few months, and apparently while I away I missed the onset of an overwhelming trend: huge knitted scarves.

Now every Fall season sees a little spike in the knitwear, be it sweaters, hats, mittens, what have you. In Canada, this only makes sense. It’s cold. Knitted things are warm. Oversized knit sweaters were trendy for over a decade (and in my opinion have never gone out of style, but I am pretty far from an expert when it comes to fashion.)

This is different.

I was wheeling my chair down Queen St. W yesterday on my way to the art & design district (because I needed a single button for my headband and pigs will fly before I pay 9$ shipping on a 1$ button) when I first noticed it.

fabric and buttons
Also P.S. I’m never going anywhere but Fabric & Buttons on Queen again because it is like button heaven. And their customer service was top notch.

After acquiring my lone button I had a sandwich and watched the people go by, realizing that almost every woman I saw in the 20-35-ish age range was sporting a huge knit scarf. What the heck? Where did all these ginormous things come from???

Pondering this I ended up rolling by the giant 3-story H&M which had a sign posted out front: “Knitwear starting at 14.99!”

14.99? Heck, I paid that much for my last hank of cascade superwash sock yarn. I wondered what all this knitwear was. H&M is the epitome of cheap – and I’m talkin’ quality, not necessarily even price – but most of all they are  trendy. Maybe they held the answer. So I went in.

And, oh boy, was there knitwear. The entire first floor was covered in it. The first scarf I encountered was right near the entrance – a giant lace circle stitched together. I thought it looked interesting, so I surreptitiously snapped a shot of it.


Clearly machine knit, but it could be hand done. I loved the pattern, but the feel of the cheap synthetic fabric (and the strands broken in few places) kind of put me off. But it was inspiring. I looked around for more inspiration and saw this sweater:

Based on the mannequins,I believe it is INTENDED to be like a cable knit mid-riff sweater. Still. Those are some wicked cables.

Eventually I decided to start taking pictures of all of it, wondering idly if they would mind (the kids working the cash and making minimum wage certainly did not) or if the security guard would think me strange (I neither know, nor care).

Moving deeper into the store I discovered they had all kinds of scarves similar in construction: one giant tube, designed to be wrapped around multiple times. Further in I found stitches I was very familiar with.

1×1 ribbing.

Some 2 stitch cables that would take an eternity to knit. I was beginning to see why it might be best to just buy such a thing until I noticed a bit of one unraveling and neatly folded it back onto the table.

Tiny cables scarf…with matching beanie. Total estimate lifespan: 2 days.

Venturing further, I found a stitch I didn’t know!

Some sort of…bobbley…yeah, no I got nuthin’

Some interesting cables on this hat.

But for 20 dollars I’m making it out of a chunky merino/silk blend…

Then I noticed an even chunk-ier hat…

For reference: my thumb is perfectly normal sized.
For reference: my thumb is a perfectly normal size.

Wait, hold on…I think it has a matching HUGE SCARF.

A bit hard to see the stitches, but that’s 2×2 ribbing.

Here is that same scarf in a colour that I can only describe as furiously florescent pink:

Again, my hand…perfectly normal sized. This scarf? HUGE! Pretty sure that’s straight-up roving, not yarn…

Finally I came across this guy:

Garter stitch.

Okay kids, that is just plain ol garter stitch. $12.95 for A GIANT BLACK ACRYLIC TUBE OF GARTER STITCH.

I give up. Let’s go back to sweaters…okay here’s we go!

They've...dropped the stitches on purpose? That's a thing? Also this seems oddly mid-riffy as well.
They’ve…dropped the stitches on purpose? Also this one seems oddly mid-riffy as well.
The same sweater on a mannequin (note the scarf…) Maybe that should be my excuse the next time I run out of yarn…it’s trendy yo.

Everywhere I turned it was short crew neck knit sweaters and chunky scarves.

Every. Where.

Just in case anyone was wondering…they STILL make sweaters out of fun-fur…

Pictured above: my worst nightmare.

But there were a few more inspiring things to be found. While this pattern of the colours is a little too busy for my taste (I get a little stressed out just looking at it to be honest) the shape of the jacket is really neat.

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 12.47.19 AM
Front and back.

And, finally, best of all: I found something that puzzled me. Check this headband out:

Hint: it’s one continuous piece.

I thought at first it was braided…but it is just one continuous piece that eventually seams to itself. Now THIS seems like something worth reverse engineering…

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