Oct 7, 2015

Make It Work

Of all the swatches I knit over the weekend, this one was the most fun to work on.  I set myself a task to knit a series of 20-stitch swatches in different patterns to see which could be the foundation for my #slowfashionoctober sweater.  I tried stockinette, seed seed with a cable, seed, fluffy brioche and brioche rib. It was a true learning experience, and I'm a convert to the beauty of swatching.

So, I'm sure you're wondering which stitch pattern I finally settled on?  Ultimately, I fell in love with the brioche stitch, a stitch I spent one entire weekend teaching myself to knit a few years ago.  Back then, these were my happy results (and yes, my daughter was so much littler then!):

This time, I picked a brioche stitch with a slight twist ~ this slip-yarnover-k2tog stitch makes the most luscious fabric, and in terms of actual knitting, I love stitch patterns that change from row to row.  It's completely engaging and addictive, but more than that, it's squishy and textural and exactly what I had in my mind for this sweater.  It's a total win-win!

I've been better than usual about keeping good notes for each step of this pattern, and as the dapper Mr. Gunn says, I'm making it work.  Any tips you have on what I should keep in mind as I draft out this pattern, I'm all ears!

Oct 5, 2015

Slow Fashion October: Small but Mighty

For week two of #slowfashionoctober, the focus is small and what could be smaller than knitting a swatch when it comes to a big project like a sweater?  If I'm going to change anything about the way I approach knitting this month, it's taking The Swatch seriously.  I have been much too lax, much too nonchalant, and much too frugal to swatch properly (if at all).  I imagine that a few of you are probably rolling your eyes right about now and thinking "Oh no, not another post about swatching," but I have to address it, for myself, if I'm going to break this dirty, little secret.

Every time I embark on a new project, I silently promise that I will swatch. But then I don't. If I am to be truly confessional, I need to admit that of the many reasons why I have not swatched in the past (and I truly am committed to swatching in the future), it's because I'm super frugal. Okay, I'll call it like it is: I'm cheap. Recently, I've tried with some success to not add to my stash. If I have bought yarn, it's been during a sale and with a project in mind. That's been a huge improvement from when I would wander into a shop, fall in love with a yarn, and buy one or two skeins, and then pack them away in my stash.

With my new-found self-control, I do some fast calculations and buy exactly the amount of yardage I need. To swatch with any real commitment, I should buy one extra skein and use that to swatch on different size needles and, in some cases, in different stitches. What would this mean to my wallet?  A difference of $10-$20 depending on the yarn, and that can be daunting sometimes.

But as the saying goes, penny-wise, pound-foolish.  After devoting hours and hours of knitting time plus a fair amount of cash on one sweater only to have it come out too large or too small, has taught me that my frugal ways need to be amended.  That extra skein will help me create a hand-made garment that I will happily and proudly wear for years. That extra skein will teach me a lot about the fiber I'm going to spend a lot of time with. That extra skein will save me money and tears in the future.

I spent this past weekend swatching with Manos Maxima using different needles sizes and different stitch pattern.  I took a genuis tip from Jared Flood's toolbox and knitted pearl bumps at the top of each swatch to note which size needle I used.  All my swatches were done with 20 stitches, and I absolutely loved this exercise.  I learned a ton about the yarn, my own knitting tension, and how beautiful some stitches look once soaked and blocked.  Most importantly, I think I've found the stitch I will use to knit my #slowfashionoctober sweater.  Stay tuned.....

Oct 1, 2015

Slow Fashion October

I am so excited that it's October, one of my favorite months of the year.  While I always love when the calendar turns to this month, I'm especially thrilled because I'm participating in #slowfashionoctober, the brainchild of Karen Templer who I've admired since she first had her pop-up shop many moons ago.  I don't think she even expected that small gesture to become the beautiful (and necessary) Fringe Supply Co. that it is today.  

So, what exactly is Slow Fashion October?  Well, Karen explained it best so you can read about it in detail here.  As for me, I'm hoping my participation will help get me back to writing my blog, push me to take my crafting skills to another level, and curate a mindful closet.  I know, these are really high expectations but hey, I'm always up for a challenge! Now, without further ado, here's my contribution to Week One:  YOU.

I'm Evelyn and have been knitting in earnest for the past 10 years although, like many, I learned to knit as a child.  My mother is a phenomenal knitter who, to this day, doesn't read patterns but rather reads knitting.  She reminds me of musicians who play by ear ~ the woman knits by sight, and I'd love to get to that level where I can look at a sweater and re-create it merely by touch.  I think of myself as a solid knitter but for the last few years, I've been wanting to step up my game and tackle some techniques that have eluded me.  My mother is also an amazing sewist, but sadly that skill didn't float down to me. This is something I would especially like to remedy during this month.  I am in awe of my knitting friends who also sew beautiful, hand-tailored clothes (yes, Gail, I'm talking about you!), and this is one of my goals.  

Slow Fashion October will give me a focused time frame to think about design, fiber, and making. My main goal for this event is to turn those skeins of yarn up above into a pullover for my teenage daughter (of my own design).  If I can also knit or sew a new top for me, that would be incredible.  Beyond that, the rest will be icing!

Follow my progress here and on my instagram feed.

Jun 4, 2015

Queue Me Up

Whenever I turn a page in my calendar, I get a little excited at the prospect of new beginnings.  I know it's sort of silly ~ after all, new beginnings can begin on any day of the month but somehow, the first day of a new month has that new shiny feel.  So, now that a new season is also about to begin, I'm making myself commit to a challenge that I've been thinking about a lot over the last few months. I was so inspired by everyone's #madememay projects, and I desperately wanted to play along but who was I kidding?  I haven't created enough in my wardrobe to even post for a week, let alone an entire month!

So instead of pouting and feeling sorry for myself, I've decided to do something about my lack of creative output over the past year.  I've started and stopped too many projects since last fall and in going over my stash, I'm having to admit that it's getting me down. Why are there soooo many one skeins in there?  Do I seriously not have any sweater's worth of yarn in any of the gazillion bags I seem to be hoarding?  This is going to change! I'm going to take some time over the weekend to sort through my patterns and stash and start a brand new queue for my summer knitting which will include warm weather tops and accessories.

I haven't participated in a KAL for a long time, but I'm thinking that jumping in on a couple of knit-alongs this summer may just be what I need to inspire me and to keep me honest and engaged with all you lovely knitters. I haven't hosted a knit-along in while either so stay tuned as I'm scheming of a fun one to announce early next week.  In the meantime, if you're enjoying one now that still has a few weeks to go, let me know.  I just may join you!