I think this is just about the most beautiful collection of label designs, all featured on Japanese match boxes from the 1920s -1940s. I love the colour palettes and how unique each and every one is. Also, the textures are just incredible. You can view the entire collection here: Jane McDevitt on Flickr.
And here we go, folks: as promised, my first in a series of critical posts regarding Broadway, culture, and my opinion on the state of theatre today.
Let me preface this post with a clear disclaimer: I am a major fan of Anastasia and have been since the Don Bluth movie came out in 1997. I also understand why Santo Loquasto was selected by the American Theatre Wing as this year’s Tony winner for costume design; I congratulate him heartily, because he is a master of the craft.
But with that out of the way, I disagree with the American Theatre Wing on this award and truly believe that the award should have gone to Linda Cho for her work on Anastasia. I think this honestly was the most upsetting snub for me last night. In some ways, this gets to the heart of another post I made. From an aesthetic standpoint, Linda Cho’s costumes were more visually impressive, more memorable, and more original than those for Hello, Dolly! I’m not alleging any animus in the ATW’s decision, to be clear; it goes more to the somewhat staid, static vision of theatre possessed by the eligible voters.
Now, part of the reason I find the HD costumes uninspiring is because thanks to HD being a revival, there is a kind of need to look to the past productions for inspiration, since the director and producers were not trying to go for some kind of completely original setting (which is fine, for the record!).
But to my mind, the Best Costume Design category is designed to reward originality and accomplishment, not just improvements on a theme. The costumes that Linda Cho designed for Anastasia manage to have a kind of timeless elegance that grabs the eye and forces you to notice not only the actors, but the costumes themselves.
Anya’s (Christy Altomare) red and blue gowns from Act II have stuck in my head since the very first stills were released to Playbill ages and ages ago. For visual pops, you cannot beat these (all photos are either from Playbill or other publicly available sources, and are not my property):
Both of these gowns exude a classic elegance that is unrivaled on Broadway today, paying homage to the source material (the high society of the Roaring 20s in Paris, as well as the Russian designs included on the red gown) while still looking fresh.
The lines on the blue gown in particular are exquisite, and give Christy Altomare (who is not a tall woman) the appearance of added height without it being obvious that is what it’s designed to do.
The costumes for the Romanovs are also elegant, sophisticated, and memorable (I lack a proper still for this that I can attribute to Playbill or Broadway World or Broadway Box and thus the still is drawn from Pinterest; if you are the original photographer, please message me and I will edit this post to credit you).
For those familiar with the show, you know the ones I mean: the ghostly pearlescent white of Nicholas, Alexandra, and the others slain at the start of the musical. The costumes are graceful, and a good match to many images of the real Romanovs in the era in which the prologue is set. But as with Anya’s gowns…truly, there is a level beyond the simple. I called them “ghostly” for a reason: you can’t look at them without having a terrible sense that these people (innocent for the purposes of the musical) are about to be slain. Linda Cho made funeral shrouds out of ballgowns–and that is a metaphor that works on a huge number of levels.
But you know where Linda Cho really gets me? The costumes for Lily (Caroline O’Connor), Vlad (John Bolton), and Dimitry (Derek Klena). Let’s take each in turn, with just one example per.
This is a Playbill still from the Broadway performance of (I believe) either “Land of Yesterday” or “The Countess and the Common Man”. One of my fellow fanastasias ( @nikolaevna-romanova or @anyasdimitry perhaps?) can confirm which scene/number.
I’ll focus on Lily for the moment. That gold dress is clearly designed to pop. Lily is a fun, flirty, outrageous character, like her spiritual predecessor in the 1997 film as voiced by the divine Bernadette Peters. Caroline O’Connor brings a downright saucy quality to the character that this gown is designed to highlight. The character is a fallen aristocrat who acts as press secretary/majordomo to the Dowager Empress. She’s supposed to look wealthy–but a kind of shabby wealthy, like someone down on their luck.
So let’s take a closer look at this Linda Cho masterpiece (via Broadway Box):
The pattern and the cut of the dress are simple–much simpler than would have been worn by the nouveaux-riches of post-war Paris, but still quite elegant and stylish, especially when accented with the lace gloves. But it’s a far cry from the style that Countess Malevsky-Malevitch would have been used to in her old life in imperial St. Petersburg. She’s had to make reductions–but damn if she’s not going to make them work. Linda Cho really captures that perfectly. This dress looks, in addition to being beautiful, like it might have come from a very high end store, but wasn’t custom-made as would have been expected of someone with massive resources. While presenting a memorable dress, Linda Cho stuck to the history: Lily is down on her old circumstances (as the Romanov family was post-Revolution) but she will still Look The Part.
Next, I look at how Linda Cho costumed Vlad Popov, the would-be Count and titular Common Man of the previous number. This still is courtesy of Getty.fr and numerous other news orgs, and is from the Broadway opening night:
It looks pretty fancy, right? It is! But if you look at it closely and in the context of the play, it’s in the same category as Lily’s gold dress. The fabrics are clearly fine, but it’s not a custom tailoring, even though this comes after he is restored to some measure of glory. Linda Cho replicates a rich French brocade for the vest and matches it to the morning coat perfectly (more technically, I believe it’s a stroller, though the term is anachronistic for the year the musical is set). But there’s a reminder to the common-man status in the design of the trousers: leaving them striped, subtly, the way Linda Cho did is a subtle signal that Vlad is not born to wealth–no aristocrat would have styled themselves that way. But he mixes the two styles in a subtle nod to what he is (a commoner) and what he pretends to be (a Count).
Finally, there’s the costuming for Dimitry. Playbill ran this still before opening night, and it’s a perfect one to showcase why Linda Cho was such a genius with her choices:
We know from the musical that Dima is a poor con artist, really not much more than a gutter rat as it were and his costuming matches. The fabrics he wears are rough-hewn and cheap-looking (by intention) because he would never have been able to afford anything else unless he aggressively bartered. As a good man in early Communist Russia, he wouldn’t have had the resources to style himself any better–we get the sense Vlad can only because he had the clothes beforehand. Dimitry is all commoner, all working class, all rough (the same with Anya’s Act I wardrobe).
Now, it’s easy to make a costume look cheap–but Linda Cho does more than that. She makes it look cared for. After all, Dimitry has no resources to replace a winter coat if it’s torn, and so we see that while worn, it’s clearly cared for. His shoulder bag, if a bit out of place in the era, is the same: the leather is time-worn and it’s clearly a possession he has had most of his life. That’s not an easy look to master, and to execute it so flawlessly requires real skill.
Here’s my bottom line. The costumes that Linda Cho designed were bold and innovative, and perfectly matched to the heart and soul of the characters who wore them. They took some risks in the way in which they used colors and fabrics, and they blended some modern sensibilities with the design elements and fabrics of the era the musical is set in. That is the kind of thinking that I feel the American Theatre Wing had a chance to reward with the Tony in 2017, and it’s why I feel disappointed by the snubbing of Linda Cho. Her costumes weren’t groundbreaking, but they were unique, they were original, and above all, they felt like they improved the overall quality of the show for their presence.
I doubt Linda Cho will ever read this, but if she does: you own the Tony in my mind, and I cannot wait to see what you come up with for the next show lucky enough to hire you to design their costumes.
Summary: Logan stumbles across something called a comfort box and decides to make one for Virgil. However, he quickly discovers that he’ll need Patton and Roman’s help to make anything worthwhile—because it’s not like he can make anything good on his own, after all.
Logan is scrolling through Tumblr (an act which, he has discovered, greatly assists him in learning modern slang vocabulary) when he stumbles upon a post regarding boxes. Ordinarily, he would scroll right past it, but as he does a word catches his eye—anxiety. His curiosity is immediately piqued. Any information about the other sides is useful.
This, while perhaps not about Thomas’ sides directly, may allow him further insight into others’ dealings with anxiety, which might in turn offer him a greater grasp on what Virgil deals with. Perhaps it’s a long shot, but he’s willing to try. No time spent trying to understand one of his boyfriends can be considered wasted.
Besides, cubes are his favorite shape, after lemniscates, and a box is basically a cube.
The post, however, turns out to be less about boxes and more about what’s inside of them. It details a thing called a comfort box, which it insists can help ease anxiety if used appropriately. Suggested contents of said box are objects that appear to engage as many senses as possible in a soothing way. By doing this, the post declares, the box can serve as both a distraction and a comfort for those who suffer from heightened anxiety.
Logan is, to say the least, skeptical. He has often found that the best way to calm Virgil—and thus anxiety—is by talking their way through whatever troubles him. Patton’s hugs and cookies (snickerdoodles, specifically, although the peanut butter ones will suffice as well) also seem to help. Roman’s boisterous stories and jokes, too, usually serve to make Virgil relax—sometimes they even get him to laugh.
But, Logan supposes, extra comfort can never hurt—and he knows himself well enough to know that he won’t stop thinking about the possibilities of this box until he’s run an appropriate experiment.
That night, he excuses himself from his boyfriends’ movie-watching extravaganza, and they let him go without much of a fuss. For a moment, he allows himself to feel immensely grateful for them. They’ve begun to understand—he needs to focus, he needs to work, and if he needs to do that instead of watching a movie with them (not that that’s not fun, it’s just not his idea of mentally stimulating) they’ll let him. Of course, if he begins skipping every night, he’s certain that they’ll question him. They’ll let him exercise his mind, but they won’t let him run himself into the ground and oh, how he loves them for it.
The first thing he does when he slips into his room is conjure up a box. Its dimensions are 16x16x16 (all in inches), leaving it with a volume of 4,096 cubic inches, which Logan thinks is suitable for the items he’s selected. The first things to go in are a DVD copy of The Black Cauldron, followed closely by an MP3 player with several My Chemical Romance, Fallout Boy, and Gorillaz albums on it. Next is a jigsaw puzzle of the galaxy with one hundred pieces—simple enough that Virgil shouldn’t become frustrated putting it together, but complex enough that it should encourage him to focus.
After that, he slips in a package of peppermints—the kind that make Logan’s tongue burn and the air feel cold when he breathes through his mouth, sharp and piquant. A pair of noise-cancelling headphones go in next, along with a small box of Logan’s favorite herbal teas. Finally, he puts in a small card with crisis hotlines on it. His gut clenches as he does, and he hopes that Virgil never has to use them, but—but just in case, they’ll be there.
Once he’s done, he crouches in front of the box and takes a moment to study it. It seems much emptier than he had envisioned—perhaps he had miscalculated the volume he would need to fit everything inside. Unlikely, but possible. So maybe if he conjures up another one, but smaller—
A sudden hammering knock at his door startles Logan from his thoughts. “Logan, Patton is making cake and he wants to know if you want any. Do you want any? Logan? Are you listening to me? Do you have headphones on? Are you listening to that silly piano guy again? What’s his name? Bait oven? Whatever. That’s nerd stuff. But hey—hey, Logan. Logan, do you want any cak—”
Letting his breath out in an enormous whoosh, Logan crosses to the door and opens it to reveal Roman. “No, I do not want cake, and for your information, it’s Beethoven, and he’s not just a piano guy, he was one of the most important and influential composers of the—”
“What’s that?” Roman peers curiously over his shoulder.
“It’s a box.”
“Thanks, Captain Obvious. I meant why do you have a box?”
“If you meant ‘why do you have a box?’ then why didn’t you just say ‘why do you have a box?’ instead of ‘what’s that?’ Really, your communication ability leaves something to be desired. It—”
Roman waves him off. “Quit deflecting. If you don’t wanna say, don’t say.”
Logan pauses and frowns. Deflecting? He’s not deflecting. He’s merely attempting to eradicate Roman’s ignorance (an everlasting and thankless job) but, well, he supposes he is avoiding the question. And why? It’s not like the box has to be a secret. Secrets are irrational.
Still, he wishes that maybe, just this once, he could’ve done something nice for someone without help. It seems as though he always needs help to be kind, and he dislikes it—extremely.
Looking back at his bare, empty little box however, he knows that perhaps (the facts have added up, over the years) he simply cannot be kind on his own. Certainly he can try, but he must be missing something—some essential thing that the other three have, a thing that enables them to create and love and protect.
Something better than mere intelligence.
“It’s a comfort box for Virgil,” Logan says, sighing. He’s not selfish enough to try to do something on his own when the blatant fact that he can’t is clear. His box isn’t good enough for Virgil, but maybe with Roman’s help, and perhaps Patton’s, it can be.
“A comfort box. It’s supposed to soothe feelings of anxiety by stimulating the senses and allowing an individual to distract themselves, although I’ve no idea how accurate that statement is, as I’ve yet to test it myself.”
“The box does that?”
“Well, more specifically, the contents of the box. You can look, if you want.”
Roman goes to sit on Logan’s bed, picking the box up and rifling through it—although he is, Logan is pleased to notice, putting everything back where it belongs once he’s examined it. “This is cool,” he says. “A little minimalist, but—”
“Yes, exactly, that’s the problem,” Logan says. “So you should help me.”
“Help you what?”
“Fix the box.”
“I mean, there’s really nothing to fix.”
Logan stares pointedly at the box in Roman’s arms, plain and unassuming and minimalist. “That was sarcasm, correct?”
“No, I’m serious. I think it’s really—”
“Can’t you just—oh, I don’t know, add something?”
Roman snorts. “If you insist. First things first—we’re looking for comforting things, right? Like self-care stuff?”
“That sounds adequate, yes.”
“Great. In that case—” Roman twirls his hand and an array of items materialize on Logan’s bed. There are bath bombs (lavender and lemon and mint, if Logan is recognizing the colors correctly) along with vanilla-scented lotion, small candles in a variety of soothing scents, and a bar of milk chocolate. “How’s that?”
Logan stacks the items neatly into the box, and now it’s more than halfway full. “Good,” he says. “Thank you.”
“Oh, wait—one more thing.” Roman conjures up a coloring book of intricate patterns and a box of colored pencils. “Here. And then maybe we could put something on the outside of the box, too.”
“Hm, that’s—not a bad idea, actually.”
“Okay, here. Take this and draw something on that side. I’ll work on this one.”
“Like what?” Logan asks, critically examining the navy marker that Roman hands him.
“I dunno, math equations or something, whatever. Just make it seem like you.”
Logan does not think that he is very comforting, and thus nothing he makes will be, but he’s willing to entertain the idea if it’s Roman’s. Despite the fact that many of Roman’s ideas are completely ridiculous, the few that aren’t are often impeccable. After a long moment of contemplation, Logan sketches a graph on his side of the box and plots a lemniscate on it.
“Oh, that’s cute,” Roman says, when he finishes his side—it’s an intricate picture of himself in a crown. Well, it’s the thought that counts, Logan supposes. “An infinity sign.”
“What language is that?”
“English,” Logan says, baffled. “The shape is called a lemniscate.”
“No, that’s an infinity sign.”
“Perhaps in the common vernacular it can be addressed as such, but its true name is lemniscate.”
Roman holds his hands up. “Okay, okay, fine. Your box, your weird lemniscate.”
Logan nods, satisfied, and hands his marker back to Roman. “Very well. Thank you. Go and fetch Patton now, please.”
“You don’t think that’s suspicious?”
“Why would it be suspicious?”
“This is Virgil we’re talking about. Everything is suspicious to him. I was supposed to come down, like, ten minutes ago, and now I’m sending Patton up to your room? Sounds sketch.”
Logan waves him off. “Let it be sketch, then, just don’t let him come up here.”
“You got it.”
Roman slips out of his room, and Patton comes bounding in not two minutes later. “Heya, Teach, what’s up?” he asks.
“I need you to help me with this box.”
“You need my help? Oh, golly gee willikers, I thought this day would never come.”
“Yes, yes, enough gloating. It’s a comfort box for Virgil, so put comforting things inside of it, please.”
“Oh my goodness that is such a cute idea—you’re just the nicest guy, Lo—”
Logan shakes his head—he’s not nice or he would’ve been able to do this by himself. All he can do is nudge the others in the right direction. They’re the ones that actually do the nice thing. “Come on, before Virgil decides to come and investigate what we’re doing.”
Into the box Patton puts bubble wrap, stickers, a small stuffed dog, a fluffy black blanket, and a glitter jar that even Logan concedes looks fascinating when it’s shaken. On his side of the box he draws hearts and stars, puppies and kittens, and a large smiley face. “There,” he says, once he’s done. “How’s that?”
Logan looks contemplatively at it. One side of the box is still plain, but perhaps Virgil can color on it to make it more his. It’s quite full now, too, and Logan feels something untwist in his chest. He has done a good thing—albeit not alone (he can never do good things alone) but the point remains. “It’s adequate,” he says. “Thank you.”
“No problem, sweetheart. Do you want me to go get Virgil?”
Logan hesitates—but he doubts he can make the box any better than it is. If Roman and Patton are finished with it, then there’s nothing more for him to contribute. “Yes, please.”
Patton practically skips down the hall, calling, “Virgil, Virgil, Logan has a surprise for you, you’re gonna love it, c’mere c’mere c’mere—”
Virgil appears grudgingly in his doorway several seconds later, flanked by a bright-eyed Roman, and a Patton who is nearly trembling with excitement. Before he can speak, Logan holds the box out to him. “What’s that?” Virgil asks, making no move to take it.
“It’s a comfort box,” Logan says. He doesn’t meet Virgil’s eyes, but it’s not because he’s scared, of all things. It’s only—only, well, he really hopes he hasn’t overstepped his boundaries and made Virgil embarrassed or made himself look like a fool or—
“A what?” Virgil says, accepting the box from Logan and setting it on the desk to open.
“A comfort box. It’s supposed to help with feelings of anxiety by—” Logan stops, his words momentarily rendered unimportant upon seeing Virgil’s face as he begins looking through the box. Logan, having studied body language quite intently during Thomas’ acting lessons, thinks that his expression hovers somewhere between wondering and stunned.
“This is for me?” Virgil asks quietly.
“Yes,” Logan says. “Do you…like it?”
The smile that Virgil bestows upon him then is one of his rarest—bright and open and adoring, his eyes crinkled at the corners and dimples showing. “Yeah,” he says. “Yeah, I like it just a little bit.”
Patton squeals and wraps Virgil up in a joyful hug. “Oh, I’m so glad. You deserve it, kiddo.”
“I, too, am pleased that you find our labor of love to be satisfactory,” Roman says, straightening his shoulders a tad arrogantly, Logan thinks.
“It was Logan’s idea,” Patton says. “Isn’t he just the sweetest thing, oh my goodness—c’mere, Lo, pretty please.”
Logan crosses the room to stand before Virgil, back straight and eyes averted. Patton latches onto his arm and does his emotions thing, nuzzling his face against Logan’s and making happy sounds. “It was nothing, really. I merely found the idea on Tumblr—”
“You’re on Tumblr?” Virgil asks, startled.
“Never mind that. I gave the others the idea—which, mind you, was not technically mine in the first place—and they did most of the work. Patton is over-exaggerating the role that I played, but I do find myself pleased that you enjoy it.”
“Patton? Over-exaggerate? Why, always,” Roman says. “However, inexplicably enough, not this time. It was Logan who motivated us to make the box—although I shall take credit where credit is due and say that I clearly drew the best picture.”
“Thank you, Lo,” Virgil says, and when Logan finally meets his eyes they’re wide and unbearably fond.
“I didn’t do all the work,” Logan protests, glancing away again. “It was primarily Patton and Roman. I merely gave them direction, as per usual.”
“Hey, come over here.” Virgil holds an arm out and Logan slides under it, fitting himself to Virgil’s side. At least this way Virgil won’t try to catch his gaze anymore. “I know you didn’t do everything—and thank you, Patton, Roman, very much. But you are the one who gave them direction, Logan, so don’t think any less of yourself for that.”
“But that doesn’t matter,” Logan says, his frustration with—with himself, with this whole ordeal, finally boiling over. “Anyone could have seen the post on Tumblr, anyone could have said ‘why don’t we make a comfort box for Virgil?’ and it would have been just as well constructed without my help. It may even have been better. When it comes to doing nice things, that’s not—that’s not me. That’s them. I just tell them what to do. They’re the ones who get it done.”
The other three fall completely silent. Patton and Roman both fix him with shocked gazes and Virgil’s arm drops off of his shoulders. For a moment, vulnerability is a quivering and terrified thing in the center of Logan’s chest. He shouldn’t have said that. He should be celebrating the gift they’ve given Virgil, not complaining about what he can and cannot do. That was self-centered. He’ll have to apologize. Patton says apologies are polite and necessary if you’ve done something wrong. So—
“I’m sorry,” Logan says. “That was a poorly-timed outburst. Please disregard—”
“No,” Virgil says, and suddenly his arms are back around Logan, pulling him into a tight embrace. “No way in hell am I disregarding that.”
“Oh, honey,” Patton says, stepping closer and running his fingers through Logan’s hair. “Of course you can do things by yourself.”
“Yes, I am aware of that,” Logan says, his voice muffled by confusion and Virgil’s shoulder. “But I cannot do anything good by myself.”
Roman takes one of his hands, unlatching it from its death grip on Virgil’s hoodie (when had he begun to clutch that?) and lacing their fingers together. “You certainly can. Whatever makes you think otherwise?”
“Now is not an appropriate time for such introspection. We should be allowing Virgil to examine and appreciate his box, or at least—”
“Now is the perfect time for such introspection,” Virgil says, fingers scratching gently over his spine. A shiver twists its way through Logan as he does. “You’re more important than fussing about a box—however lovely that box may be. So—what makes you think you can’t do anything good alone?”
Logan sighs and relents—his boyfriends, whilst endearing, are also hellishly stubborn. (And oh, how he wishes he could believe them. Maybe, technically, they are right, and he can do good things by himself, but—but he just doesn’t know how, and that’s the whole problem, isn’t it?) “I was going to make the box alone, at first, but I wasn’t creative or emotional enough to obtain a satisfactory end product. It’s the same with most everything I do. Certainly, I can do some things—many things—but they will never be as nice as they could be when I have all of your help.”
“But that’s the same for all of us,” Patton says. “We can all make things on our own, but they’ll never be as good as they are when we work together.”
“I know, but—you see, the things that you and Roman and Virgil create alone will always be better than what I create alone. Patton, the things you make are full of—of love or joy or sadness, and they’re always brilliant. They have the ability to move others emotionally.”
“And what Roman creates is always, naturally, creative. He’s an artist, that’s what he does, and he does it well. He can create something out of nothing, and it’s rather incredible.”
“True,” Roman says, “and thank you. But—”
“And Virgil, the things he creates are—well, negative, yes, but they manage to be both creative and emotional. Some of the things he thinks up terrify me, and I, rationally, know that they are not real and cannot harm me.”
“Thank you, I think?” Virgil says.
“But the things I create are—are boring,” Logan says, hunching his shoulders. “There’s nothing admirable about them, save perhaps that they can be useful, from time to time, and encourage the three of you to do something even better.”
“Logan, you—hey, look at us, please,” Roman says, and Logan reluctantly lifts his face from the safety of Virgil’s shoulder. “The stuff you create is awesome. Like patterns! I use patterns all the time when I’m creating things, but I wouldn’t be able to use them without you. Like—like you literally made an infinity sign out of a mathematical equation.”
Logan glances at the box and his lemnsicate—boring, plain, unnecessarily complex. “I’m glad you like them, but—”
“And routines,” Virgil adds. “You make routines that work for us, which helps me feel a lot better. It’s comforting. You’re comforting.”
Well—well, perhaps that’s one way to look at it. (Another is that he’s a control freak.) “I’m happy that you think so, although—”
“And body language,” Patton says. “The way you understand what people are feeling just by analyzing how they stand, or how they move, it’s fantastic—and it’s really helpful when I’m trying to decide how to respond.”
Maybe. “Okay, so I may possibly—”
“There’s no possibly about it,” Roman says. “The things you create alone are just as good as any of the things the rest of us do. Okay?”
Logan drops his head and sighs into Virgil’s shoulder.
“Logan, okay?” Roman says, cupping the back of Logan’s neck. “Understand?”
“Yes, I understand,” Logan says—and he does understand. Even if he does not believe it, he understands what they’re saying, and maybe—maybe they’re right. Maybe. “Maybe you are correct.”
“I know we are,” Roman says.
“You’re wonderful with us or on your own, sweetheart,” Patton says, pressing a kiss to Logan’s temple.
“And Logan?” Virgil says.
“Thank you. I really like the box. The infinity sign is a nice touch.”
“It’s a lemniscate.”
“The shape is called a lemniscate.”
Virgil laughs and brings a hand up to cup the back of Logan’s head, ruffling his hair. “Okay. I really like your lemniscate.”
A smile tugs at Logan’s mouth, although he’s careful to keep it hidden against Virgil’s hoodie. “Thank you. I—I like it too, I think.”
“Good.” Virgil pulls back enough to give him a crooked smile. “You should.”
“I hate to interrupt this emotional moment,” Roman says, glancing towards the doorway, “but does anyone else smell something burning?”
Logan pauses, sniffing the air and yes, that smells like smoke. “Oh. Was it—perhaps—Patton, did you ever take your cake out of the oven?”
Patton freezes for only a moment, his eyes widening in horror—and then he bolts for the stairs, shrieking, “My cake!”
Now selling a John Blanket! Inspired by John Watson, on my own design. The blanket is reversible and has a basketweave/boxed pattern down the middle, with cables on the left side and panels on the right!
Why you should buy it:
warm and cosy
soft and snuggly
reminds you of your favourite army doctor
acrylic (no wool allergies! Easy wash! No cotton-shrinking!)
supports a struggling uni student
lap sized! 33in (84cm) wide.
can be machine washed (hand wash/delicate cycle) and dried (delicate cycle). Handwashing is just fine if you love it that much.
heavy and snuggly. Nothing near a weighted blanket, but the yarn is thick and the blanket weighs (on estimate) just over one and a half pounds or 760 grams.
reversible. No matter which way you turn it, the cables will be on one side with the panels on the other, so both sides are pretty!
Asking Price - 185 USD. Price breakdown:
Yarn - 75 USD
Needles - 15 USD
Supplies - 5 USD
Labour - 90 USD
Considering the hours of work put into this, I’m paying myself well below minimum wage, but this is for several reasons. A) I know the yarn may get fuzzy. Acrylic does that when it’s soft. B) handmade goods are never perfect. And lastly, C) I’m a struggling uni student who can never afford to buy fan merch, so I wanted to make it semi-affordable.
Paid through Paypal, shipping not included. Please send me a message if you’re interested!
a lovely anon asked if i could do a tutorial for how to make pixel textures for gif icons, so here it is ! there will be pictures along the way & i’ll try my best to explain everything as clearly as i can, but it’s very easy & i hope you find this helpful ! all you need is PHOTOSHOP ( i use CS6, but it should work the same in other versions ), a GIF/IMAGE, & maybe a PSD. this will be put in steps so it’s easier to follow !
Lopapeysa – the significance of patterns in the Icelandic sweater: introduction
So I promised a while back that I would publish my BA thesis about Icelandic sweaters for you guys – here’s the first part! I made my thesis about sweater patterns, even though I’m actually studying graphic design, so the main focus of the thesis is on the designs on the sweaters. I decided to publish them in parts, chapter by chapter, so that it wouldn’t be one big chunk to read. I’ll tag the parts with a tag lopapeysa thesisso it’s easy to follow the parts. This is the introduction part, and later on I’ll go deeper into the history and future of the sweater. If you have any questions or opinions on the way, feel free to send an ask, start a conversation in the reply box or reblog with your comments! :)
in other Nordic countries, children in Finland learn to knit in elementary
school. Like many other kids, I also made my first socks when I was about 10
years old – they were horrible and I hated every moment of making them. The
Finnish school system failed to inspire me to continue knitting in my free
time, but since those days, I have rediscovered knitting on my own. I made my
first “Icelandic sweater” in 2013 from Finnish wool (Figure 1) and got
closer to my passion when I moved to Reykjavik in the fall of 2015. As an avid
knitter and a graphic design student living in Reykjavík, it was only natural
that I would be drawn to the graphic patterns of the Icelandic sweater, lopapeysa. Ever since I came to Iceland,
I must have knitted countless of socks and mittens and a dozen sweaters from
different Icelandic wool-types and gone through a variety of patterns and
techniques. In my opinion as a knitter, knitting the pattern on the yoke is the
best part in making the sweater – it is at the same time very repetitive and
easy to follow, but at times challenging and exciting to work with. This lead
me to examine the work that goes into designing the patterns and how they have
formed over the years.
Figure 1: My
first Icelandic sweater, “Dalur” from the book “Knitting with
I first got introduced to the Icelandic sweaters, I thought the graphic
patterns in the yoke were the defining factor – but are there other factors
that are more important? In this thesis, I will try to find out what really is
the signifigance of the patterns in the Icelandic sweater and how have the
patterns developed over the years. Where do the patterns draw inspiration from?
How are they designed and who designs them? Have the patterns changed with the
current trends and fashion?
find answers to these questions, I will have to start from the beginning: the
material of the sweaters. I will go through a brief introduction of the
materials and techniques used to make the sweaters by researching pattern books
and publications about yarn production. Following the history of the material,
I will take a look at how the knitting traditions of the surrounding nations
have influenced the patterns, and how much of Iceland’s own tradition is truly
included in the pattern designs. As a graphic designer, the design process that
goes into making the patterns is of particular interest to me: what
restrictions does the sweater’s shape and material bring to the designer, and
on the other hand, what possibilities does it offer? In a world of blogs and
social media platforms, anyone can be a designer; this is why I will also see how
has the internet affected the rise of Icelandic sweater’s popularity amongst
knitters and how do people share their designs? Finally, I will take a look at
how the patterns have morphed from traditional into more modern adaptations and
how the sweater has made its way to mainstream fashion in Iceland and
have been a number of papers and research articles written about Icelandic
wool, sweaters and knitting traditions, most of them written in Icelandic. Due
to language restrictions, the material I’m examining is mainly in English, although
some publications like Sjónabók (a
recreated collection of the traditional box patterns), Ull verður
gull (the history of wool production in Iceland by Magnús Guðmundsson) and
others I had to include in the research, since they provide too many good
insights to ignore them. From the English material a big portion are pattern
books translated from Icelandic to English, such as Knitting with Icelandic
wool (introduction by Elsa E. Guðjónsson) and blog posts on the subject. Some
articles published in English provide great overlook on the history and tradition
of the sweaters, such as Nation in a
sheep’s coat: The Icelandic sweater (by Guðrun Helgadóttir) and shed light
on the politic history of the sweater as well. As I look into the current
situation of the sweater, I will also use blogs and social media platforms such
as Facebook, Raverly and Instagram to find out what influence they’ve had in
the sweater designing.
I chose this subject because I see many things in common with knitdesign and
graphic design: both diciplines are subject to technical constrain and constant
pressure on marketing, and both fields have a similar working process. Due to
the fact that this is a thesis focusing on the graphic side of Icelandic
sweaters, I have chosen to include many pictures. The pictures in the thesis
are shown relatively large, since the focus is on the patterns of the sweaters,
and no details can be spared.
The Met Gala women's fashion that men should've taken a risk in.
The only reason I ever want to be famous is so I can show up to red carpets and events in Not A Fucking Suit. Menswear silhouettes are so BORING and every man at a red carpet event is a clone of the next one.
Oooh, so you changed the pattern on your Box Shaped Outfit? You made the coat ever so slightly longer or shorter on your Box Shaped Outfit? You switched out your bowtie for a *gasp* REGULAR TIE with your Box Shaped Outfit?
It’s so boring. It’s been boring for generations. We used to wear powdered wigs and feathers and butchers’ heels and ruffles and now everybody is in the same funeral suit at every event. Over it. If I was a man going to the Met Gala, these are the looks I would’ve wanted to wear.
Full disclosure: This is ugly. But I can imagine a man in it. Just getting it out of the way up top because I obviously wouldn’t be caught dead in this.
Killing the Box Shaped Outfit with an intense train? Here for it.
Pharrell tried a Relaxed Box, but it’s still the same shape. Would’ve much rather seen him in Helen’s outfit instead and that big ass hat he used to wear would actually work with the oversized silhouette and the shoe.
Take the chains and run them shoulder to shoulder across the back and I’m wearing it to the Grammys.
Bring the collar all the way up to a mock turtleneck, hair up in a topknot, switch out the diamonds for simple platinum or black leather cuffs, and turn the shoe into a cuban heel, and I want this.
Would totally wear. Have you seen my legs? Bye.
On the left (yes I can still tell them apart), same exact hair and length and styling. I can see so many waifish men in this outfit from Ezra Miller to, duh, me.
I’m pretty sure I can put that outfit together right now from my closet and get ready for lunch.
Tracee Ellis Ross
This is The One though. That’s the red carpet I’m going for. If I ever won an award for anything, that’s exactly what I want to be wearing, but longer because I can’t picture any shoe on a man that needs to be showcased at all with this outfit.
Year after year I hope for some dude to forreal step outside of the box at these events – not you wore cropped pants or a white tux or added a metallic blazer, but forreal left the Box Shaped Outfit at home – and nobody ever does. Masculinity and expression is so rigidly boring. I need to step up my sewing game real quick.