Oct 7, 2016

What Slow Fashion Means to Me

Yes, it's been a long ... very long ... time since I've written here, and it feels right to re-start blogging with the beginning of Slow Fashion October.  To kick off the month, Karen Templer asked for introductions, and I thought a lot about how I wanted to share who I am in terms of making and fashion. In my life outside of my paid work, I'm an avid knitter. Like many, I was taught by my mom and made some wonky scarves in those early years of learning.  Also like many, I gave it up because I had too many other interests and pursuits to fill my time.

I hadn't thought about knitting for years when I found myself at my hair salon, flipping through a Vogue Knitting magazine (yes, I did think it was strange that a Vogue Knitting magazine was at the hair salon) and my eyes landed on a simple but classic sweater dress. It was soft gray in color with minimal shaping but maximum appeal.  Something bubbled up inside me, and I knew that I had to trying knitting that dress.  Now, what you need to know is that I had never learned to read a knitting pattern ~ my mom, who is a master knitter, does not know how to read a knitting pattern to this day ~ but when I began to peruse the instructions, something in my brain clicked and it simply became another language to me, and one which I actually could understand.  How and why this happened, I can't explain but all I can say is that my brain was willing to accept the k, p, ssk, and chart marks when it had never been willing before.

Fast forward to today:  I have now been knitting for the past dozen or so years, increasing my skill and my love for making by hand. What hasn't increased is my speed and that, I suppose, is at the heart of my involvement in slow fashion. I am rarely driven by product. I am almost always driven by process.  Each time I cast on for a new project, I revel in the possibility of the final sweater, glove, hat, or scarf, especially if I'm trying to design it myself. But that's not what gives me the most joy.  Having the work in my hands as I touch the yarn, watch the fabric take shape, and create something wearable is what thrills me. The end product is truly the icing on the cake.

Oh, and no, I never did knit that sweater dress but maybe I'll just cast that on for my #slowfashionoctober project.

Mar 3, 2016

A Capsule Wardrobe ~ Beginnings

As I promised myself I would, I tackled my clothes closet last weekend, and you know what?  I actually enjoyed the experience of going through all my clothes and getting a handle on what I own and wear.  I've decided to go with the set number of items for my capsule.  Well, not exactly an exact number in that I didn't choose five shirts, four sweaters, etc.  Rather, I decided to pull together a group of clothes that I know I can mix and match easily and comfortably for the next three months.

Here's just a glimpse of my selection:  three linen tees from Madewell from last season which will be a great base for jeans and trousers and that can go alone or covered by a few cropped sweaters that I've owned for a gazillion years. These cardigans are from Old Navy (year unknown) which have surprisingly held up over time.  

In terms of my knitted sweater capsule, I'll definitely knit a cardigan with a similar feel to these store-bought ones ~ I love Flaum (and everything in this issue of Amirisu), Marion (and all Andi's cropped sweaters), and Belmont, to name a few.  With my petite physique and short torso, cropped cardigans are a great staple in my wardrobe and I love the idea of carefully choosing the perfect yarn for this style.  I'm getting inspired ....

Feb 26, 2016

A Capsule Wardrobe Part I

The other day, as I was going through my clothes closet, I found myself reaching for the same pair of pants, the same tee shirt, the same pullover, and the same coat. And then I looked at all my other clothes and wondered why they get so little air time. To put it simply, I have more clothes than I actually wear and my go-to pieces are what make me feel most comfortable, most confident, and most happy.  This got me thinking that I really need to stop thinking about a capsule wardrobe and instead start creating one.

As someone who loves to do research before tackling a new project, I took to the blogosphere and started reading:  Unfancy, Into Mind, The Every Girl and looking at Pinterest which is rife with inspiration:  here, here, and here, to name a few.  All this reading and looking has me excited to tackle my closet this weekend, a task that has jumped to the top of my to-do list. I haven't fully decided which plan of action I want to take:  limit my capsule to a particular number of items for a three month period, rid my wardrobe of items I no longer wear, or something completely idiosyncratic to myself. I won't know until I actually go through all my clothes but one thing that I have been thinking about and feel like committing to is creating a capsule of hand-knitted sweaters for next fall and winter.  There are certain colors (mainly neutrals) and styles (I love turtle necks) which will certainly be on my needles soon but I'd love your suggestions.  

From Elle Magazine

I've created a pinterest board of woolly sweaters that I'll knit in the spring for the colder months and welcome any and all pattern recommendations that you have.  I'm more partial to top-down, raglans but to have some diversity in my capsule, I know I need one or two set-in sleeve designs, too, so send them my way.

From Lolobu

These two pullovers are examples of the look I hope to achieve in my wardrobe eventually.  Tres chic, oui?

Feb 5, 2016


I had very good intentions about blogging again at the start of January especially because I wanted to jot down my knitting goals for 2016. Clearly, those intentions stayed intentions, but I suddenly realized that Lunar New Year is just around the corner so I'll mark this much-loved holiday with notes about my aspirations with yarn and needles.  More than anything, I'm going to keep my goals super simple this year ~ I'm often way too ambitious with my wish list and end up feeling more disappointed than proud.  

So, here they are ~ three simple but still challenging goals I want to achieve:  

(1) I plan to choose my projects much more carefully.  What this means is that I'm going take my time assessing a pattern before it jumps onto my needles.  I don't know about you but I sometimes get I caught up in the frenzy of a popular project that inundates my IG feed and cast on with abandon.  Granted, they often are truly gorgeous, but they aren't always my style or something I would easily (or happily) add to my wardrobe.  So, I'm going to enjoy seeing everyone's beautiful pics, but I'll do some research on the whole project before I decide if it's worth my time, effort, and money.

One such project is the Wolf River pullover which I've been wanting to knit for a while.  I love the stitch pattern that covers the entire body of the sweater and I've been wanting to add a chunky, oversized pullover to my wardrobe for a while.  I've already finished the front, back, and side seaming so I should be able to wear this beauty really soon.

(2) I plan to push myself to try new techniques.  I will definitely spend time perfecting things I already know but what I really want to achieve this year are new-to-me methods like intarsia and set-in sleeves and steeking(!).

(3)  I plan to explore new-to-me yarns.  I don't usually knit in the suggested yarn for a project either because I'm too inpatient (and run to my stash first) or I get cold feet about spending money on yarns that I've never tried before.  In my quest to choose projects carefully, I know that knitting with the suggested yarns will make the whole experience that much more wonderful.  So, I hope I'll be sharing some thoughts soon on yarns that I've only seen you knit with or read about and will now experience first-hand.

An unofficial fourth goal is to create a capsule wardrobe which will mainly consist of hand-knit and hand-sewn garments.  This would be a huge goal if I accomplish it so I hope you'll cheer me on as I would love to do a recap in December of what I made.  

Now onto knitting those sleeves....