Sunday, June 25, 2017

Thank You, Patty Jenkins

Dear Ms. Jenkins:

I have, this weekend, gone to the theater and viewed the Wonder Woman movie, in 3D no less (my first 3D movie experience). I am not one to write public letters to Hollywood directors (because, hey, who am I?), but I must thank you from the bottom of my feminine, mythology-loving heart for creating a superhero movie that finally speaks to me, on so many levels and in so many ways.

I am looking way beyond the obvious elements that many critics have cited: Gal Godot in the lead role, looking so comfortable in a Wonder Woman costume that she wears effortlessly, and not the other way around. Or to the natural chemistry between her character and that of Chris Pine. Or the lush world of Themyscira devoid of cliched Greek elements. Or the rounded, feminine edges to this movie, despite great fight scenes (and the first one on the island remains emblazoned in my mind's eye), or the fact that the movie has earned more than $600 million world-wide in the four weeks since its release - breaking so many box office records.

Here are the things that have stayed with me: an inspired casting choice of Robin Wright as Antiope (I had not looked up any cast information prior to my viewing, so I was thrilled to see her in the first scenes in the movie). The Queen of Themyscira relating a well-developed origin story to a young Diana, complete with the child's formation from clay (which taps into such a rich mythological creation tradition. My Ganesha comic book from India was instantly and happily invoked.) An early 20th century female clothes shopping scene that would make any fashion history major or sociologist happy. I hope that at least a few of my former design school students were invoking their own papers written in one of my several courses discussing fashion during the Victorian era as a limiting, feminist straight jacket. Or, finally, the battle scene where the Wonder Woman character fully comes into her own, and she is single-handedly deflecting bullets and bombs from all sides, while simultaneously absorbing the heat and hate of a war front and paving the way for her male companions to get out on the battle field and support her efforts. The metaphor is so incredibly timely it almost brought me to tears.

While I do wish the ending fight scenes would have been formulated differently, and the writing not quite so heavy-handed and obvious, you are forgiven those thirty film minutes, for they are supported by the first almost 111 minutes of stellar celluloid. Wonder Woman's hero journey has all the right elements - what a gift!

I cannot state with enough emphasis how this movie's female lead and message are timed perfectly. It is exactly what we all need to see and hear. As someone who grew up watching and totally enjoying the Lynda Carter-led Woman Woman television series, this movie is a must-see that will not disappoint. More importantly, given the events that have occurred since the beginning of this year, the future is feminine, and this movie speaks to that future so eloquently. I hope everyone will run, not walk, to view it. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Our Happiness Make A-long 2017 Update

My four Progress, Hope, and Happiness designs:
 Jewels of the NajadsStars Fell on Yellowstone Cowl,
A Force for Good Capelet, and Stone's Clutch. All of
them are available, along with all of my other single
patterns, for purchase during today's Solstice Flash sale.
Well, everyone, we are about half way through our Ravelry-hosted make a-long (MAL if you're into acronyms), and makers are working on and through the 14 designs in the collection. We celebrated Worldwide Knit in Public Day with some awesome photos and a little yarny give-away, and now we are at the height of summer - the solstice! If you haven't yet checked out our make a-long group, now would be a great time, as we are having all kinds of fun over there for the next 24 hours. Really. I won't spill all the beans, but the fun includes a huge flash sale for most of the 10 designers!!!! If you want some quick summer makes plus are into saving your precious cash, check the group out, hit the bundle with all of the participating designs, and link to each of the designers' individual Ravelry stores and get while the getting is good!

I am working on, or have completed, several of the designs and I am enjoying each making experience. I completed a quick Jewels of the Najads bracelet for my summer fun swap package recipient (and have heard from her that she likes it very much); I am almost done with a winter version of Stars Fell on Yellowstone Cowl (photo of which, just prior to starting the edging, you can see to the left); on Worldwide Knit in Public Day I started a mohair version of a Lilith Stole for myself, and I will be working on a few other things before this along is over and done. I have no idea if I will get everything completed prior to the deadline, but since two items are model thank-you's, I am hoping to speed through their projects in record time (at least record time for moi).

Makers from all over (U.S., Canada, Australia, and Germany, at minimum) are working on multiple projects. I hope you will join us and make some summer happiness for yourself!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Progress, Hope, and Happiness Collection Launch Day Has Arrived!

It felt like this day would never come, but here it is - the launch of the 2017 Summer Progress, Hope and Happiness Collection. Hold on to your making sticks and hooks, because this collection is a stunner, even if I do say so myself!

As I write this, I am just a wee bit teary-eyed. I started this collection's process on January 1 of this year with a world-wide indie dyer submission call. That was followed by a designer call. The 14 indie artists that responded (5 dyers and 9 designers) have absolutely gone above and beyond anything I could have imagined. From all corners of the globe, we huddled in an off-line forum at all hours of the day and night and hashed out myriad details. We commiserated with each other, overcame technology snafus, and (mostly) met self-imposed deadlines with grace and good humor. We gathered prizes, put together a Ravelry group for a world-wide #happinessmakealong2017 event, got makers to actually join the group without even seeing one design beforehand, and now are here at launch day. It feels like winning the Boston Marathon and the Tour de France at the same time.

And it fills me with joy to know that artists around the world came together with good will and some amazing ideas and never once threatened to take their respective toys and leave the sandbox. This collection is my heart - and I cannot be more proud to have designs shown alongside each of these nine fellow designers and made with these awesome indie-dyed custom colorways. Our #happinessmakealong2017 group can be found here on Ravelry. We will be making these designs, all of which can be purchased on Ravelry in each designer's respective pattern store, between June 1 - July 16. There will be surprises. There will be yarny (and other) prizes. Most importantly, there will be a shared, world-wide maker community. I hope you will join us!

Without further ado, here is the 2017 Progress, Hope, and Happiness Collection look-book: