The Jazz Emporium

Let's get our Vintage on!


Guest Post by Jessica James: Let’s Get Knitty!

There’s a whole lot more to knitting than dishcloths. When I was quite young, Mom churned these wee squares out like there was no tomorrow. As a young lady I wished to learn these crafty ways for purposes other than kitchen accessories. Eventually I found out those were the only things Ma felt confidant making. Therefore I sought guidance from higher up in the family tree: Nana. As I’m left-handed, I essentially had to learn to do everything completely backwards. This was a challenge that both clever Betty June (Nana) and I undertook. Success was soon ours.

 Back in the day, I would knit with any old yarn, mostly acrylic. After all, my allowance wasn’t much, and I was too young for a proper job. Since recently coming to work at a wool shop that does not sell yarn made out of plastic, I have become quite the yarn snob. This is positive with regards to the quality of the finished product, but a negative with regards to my bank account. Being a snob is expensive.

 Along with the popularity of vintage clothing, vintage hobbies have come back into the limelight. Vogue puts out knitting magazines every season and Ravely (knitting social networking site) has a couple million members. BUT I would just like to point out that I was on this train long ago! I feel I can now call myself an advance knitter, as I’ve just finished my biggest and most time consuming project ever. I knitted a dress! Pat on the back for me. I’m so proud of my navy blue bundle of joy (although it’s pictured gray below). As you can see, it even has pockets! I was thrilled when my flat mate told me the dress was sooooooooooo Joan (from Mad Men, yay!). Oooo maybe I’ll wear that today.


Back in the 90’s Julia Roberts was knitting a jumper on the set of her latest film, and she released the pattern to the masses. So of course I thought it was way cool and had to follow suit. Unfortunately my version turned out to be a bit of a mess. I’ll blame it on using acrylic.

Now after many years of practice, I find it hard to put my knitting needles down. Last weekend I was so engrossed in knitting some legwarmers, but I was meant to attend my friend’s birthday party. I was torn. So like any serious knitter, I brought my knitting with me to the party. Luckily I was able to get a few rounds done before the Swedish cider went to my head. Ooft. Warning: drunkenness and knitting don’t mix.

Sometimes knitting when one is supposed to be paying attention can appear rude. But I am able to chat and focus on other things while I’m knitting, it’s called multi-tasking. Actually, I enjoy being productive. I can’t even manage to watch an entire movie without having some knitty business in my hands (a bored/guilty feeling sets in). The one exception that takes away my multi-tasking abilities is a movie with subtitles.

Portable and therapeutic hobbies are important to my livelihood, especially when I expect to spend some time waiting. I used to always bring my knitting with me to auditions. Not only did it keep me occupied and productive, it also settled my pre-performance jitters. Surprisingly, having to get up in front of a panel of casting directors to sing for 30 seconds can be quite nerve rattling.

On of my recent and favorite creations is this red hood. At the time when I was making this fine accessory, Halloween was quickly approaching and I was without a costume concept. All I had to do was look down. BAM! Hello Little Red Riding Hood!