Saturday, April 26, 2014

Recent Yarn acquisitions

Two weeks ago there was this fabulous event hosted by yarn stores, a shop hop. Seventeen local yarn shops got together and put on an event. There were custom dyed yarns and special patterns, beads to collect and food/money to donate. It's a blast.

Yarn Haul, Shop Hop 2014
From left to right: CoBaSi in cream (KnitN from the Heart), Taiyo Sock in blues (Darn Knit Anyway), Ultra Pima in cream (Amazing Threads), Wild Hare pinnacle sock in "More Sea than Otter", one of the special colors at Yarn Garage, and Sun Valley Fibers BFL DK in "Lake Skies", custom color at Twisted Loops.

And now that they are all together, I sense a theme of cream and blue.  The one from Yarn Garage is destined to be their featured pattern, a reworking of a Steven West design by one of the employees. Twisted Loops had a nice fingerless mitt pattern featuring the yarn, but on second thought, I might make Hands of Blue with this colorway, or something TARDIS inspired. Hmm, haven't quite decided yet. The Ultra Pima and CoBaSi are destined to complement/accent planned projects using yarn already in stash. The Noro Taiyo is probably going to become longitudinal. Not pictured is the Summer issue of Knitscene. I had to check it out, half the patterns came up in my Ravelry pattern highlights.

And then, today I made my way over to the market at Yarn Over (it wasn't far, really) and picked up this:
Only the one skein of yarn, but that's alright. It's from ModeKnit and the colorway is Lobelia. I think it's going to become a petite version of wingspan. The pattern came to my attention on Ravelry and when I saw it at a vendor booth, I figured, why not? The buttons are going on a cowl I'm almost done knitting - details and pictures at a later date. At the same booth I found a wooden belt buckle. I've been imagining a fun and semi-functional belt from fabric in the stash, and finding this was just the thing I needed to push my idea to reality.

I haven't done a whole lot of knitting the past week. I've been going over my wardrobe in preparation for MeMadeMay, and when I say 'going over' I mean mending and altering and occasionally eliminating. Though I really wish it would warm up a bit- highs in the mid to upper 60's instead of the 40's, please? Many of my me-mades are for warmer weather- I have some nice skirts and short sleeved blouses that I would love to pull out of the closet...

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

On clothing and style

So the wonderful blogger over at hosts Me Made May. She is currently taking pledges for May 2014. I participated last year, and plan to this year.

It's for people who have made stuffs- clothing, accessories, etc, but who might not wear their creations. It's designed to push people into using the items they have created, whether sewn, knitted, refashioned, etc.

I often fall into this category.

I have been making clothing for half of my life. More than pj bottoms for most of that time.

I rarely buy clothing at traditional retail shops. Many factors: cost, quality of material and construction (or lack thereof), personal style, dubious ethical and environmental practices, dislike for practice of 'fast fashion', abhorrence of consumerism.

Grew up in a working class home. Early childhood clothing was hand-me-downs from family, starting in junior high I got a couple of pair of jeans from Penny's or Sear's in the fall other clothing came from  thrift stores. It was economical and fun to spend a couple of hours flipping through racks at second hand stores looking at what I could cobble together. I didn't have a cohesive style, heck I still don't, and didn't follow the trends and fashions of teens ( I grew up before the use of 'tween').

In college, I found many friends that had the same ambivalence towards fashion. Clothing is utilitarian, and comfortable. Fashion comes after that. High fashion at college was t-shirts advertizing the groups you were a part of.

After college, I spent several years working at a large department store, and while I successfully avoided being stationed in the clothing departments, I learned about the practices of the retail fast-fashion industry.  Ish.

I no longer work at the department store (Thank God!) The last time I bought a new piece of clothing (undergarments excluded) was three years ago, it was a bridesmaid dress. My wardrobe is small, I wear all of it in a year's time (with the exception of the bridesmaid's dresses). 

I don't feel like I have a cohesive sense of style I'm inspired by early 1940's fashions-( tailored, simple silhouettes brought on by war time rationing, pants became acceptable for women to wear outside the house.) but because of my job and chronic pain, wardrobe choices are simple- knits for tops because I can't always work buttons. Denim for pants-it's durable.

And now to wrap this up, because it's turning whiny.... 

I guess I have thought of clothing primarily as utilitarian for so long, it's difficult to 'see' style in what I wear. I'm practical-I dress for the weather and for how my body functions (stiff hands and such). Maybe in the next month I can start looking at how I dress as more than just clothes, but as an experiment in self expression.

My pledge this year is to :
1. Wear at least one me-made item a day, five days a week for the duration of May
2. Take pictures of my outfits, if only for personal evaluation.
3. Create two from-scratch garments over the course of May.
4. Reflect on the garments I have purchased and made.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Checking in on New Year's Goals

Today is the first of April, which means that we are one quarter of the way done with the year.
On January first I made some goals about my crafting in 2014.

Goal one: Post twice a month.

Check! Sidebar on your right shows that I made three posts in January and two each for February and March.

Goal two: Sew something for entry in the MN state fair.

Um, I think I've determined that it will be a buttoned-downed blouse. I have the fabric, some pale pink striped seersucker and buttons to match. I even have the pattern picked out, though I have to alter this and redraft that, so really I'm going to be winging it. Though I have made the pattern before (hence the need for redrafting...) so I do know what needs to be different. Sigh, that should be my April sewing challenge.

Goal three: Crochet something for entry in the MN state fair.

Nothing to report on this one yet. I thought I had a project and craft materials, but have since re-thought and rescinded earlier decisions. Note to self: check crochet patterns on Ravelry, peruse crochet pattern libraries of family members.

Goal four: Knit 10 items off Ravelry queue.

For it to count as being 'off my queue' I had to have queued it before 2014. All are public links to my project pages on Ravelry.
First off: Snowflake, a SusannaIC pattern. Queued March 23, 2010.
Then Cats in the Hat, for sister. Squeaked into queue on December 24, 2013.
And Ringwood, my first pair of gloves, queued shortly after being published in Knitty: September 30, 2010.
Then another gift: Cabled Socks. This was my Ravellenic challenge. Queued December 15, 2013.
And most recently Gail, A lovely lace shawl, queued January 14, 2013.

I've also made a pair of socks for my mom that never entered the queue, it was a spur of the moment insomnia driven decision. These have yet to be photographed, but they do exist. Knitty pattern Fargyles, knit in some worsted weight acrylic that's been lingering in the stash.

Plus I cast on for the Heliopath Vest, though after perusing project pages, I think I will rip back and cast on the 38" size.

And just the other day I started a new pair of socks. I bloged about them in the last entry.

That means that five out of my eight projects started in 2014 came of my pre-2014 queue. Not bad for three months of knitting.

Goal five: Learn a new technique:

Well, I haven't gotten there yet. There was a brioche class at my LYS, but it filled up fast. I've been told they will offer it again, so I have that option. I could also take a craftsy class or read a book or watch a DVD, so I still have plenty of options.

In non-goal related craft news, the wonderful blogger at 'So Zo' is hosting Me Made May, again. I participated last year and am thinking about what I want my goal to be for this May. Hopefully it will inspire me and my wardrobe choices. Here's the link to the introduction and signup for this year's festivities. More on my wardrobe and handcrafted clothing later this month.