Product vs Process Knitting

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The cardigan I just finished got me thinking about product vs process knitting. Product knitting is when you knit because you want to use the finished object. A process knitter likes the process and isn’t necessarily knitting to use the finished project. I have realized that up until now, I have been more of a process knitter. Until recently, I would pick projects based on how much fun they would be or what skill I wanted to learn. Often it would be a thought process of, “I just finished a piece and now what do I want to do?” Or I would pick a project so I could learn a specific skill. When I started to read Karen Templers blog more and the handmade wardrobe hashtag, I started to want to be more deliberate about what I chose to make. I was inspired to make pieces I could use in my wardrobe. At the time I was so inspired by the pictures of people wearing the pretty garments that they made and being thoughtful about what they wanted to add to their wardrobe and I wanted the same thing.

I saw another side to all this when I recently finished making The Belcarra Cardigan. The piece was frustrating and it was a struggle to keep doing it. It took a lot longer than I thought to make it and I had to unravel and redo it several times before I got a good start. I almost put this sweater on hold because it was taking so long and spring was coming . It was frustrating to be still working on this sweater I had hoped to wear this past winter. I ended up pushing through and finishing it. I knew it would bother me to have an unfinished project hanging around until next fall. I also persevered because I wanted that sweater in my wardrobe.

During the process of making this sweater, I lost some enthusiasm for making garments on a regular basis. Not too long before, I had been so inspired by making more garments but my frustrations with this project dampened my enthusiasm. I read somewhere that the pieces that end up being wardrobe staples are often very boring to make. I can definitely see how that can happen. I realized that it can be draining to plug through a frustrating process because you want the finished object.

I had been moving towards being more of a product knitter but I realized I also needed to make sure I was working on projects that are fun. I realized that the pieces I do because “wouldn’t hat be cool!” keep things fun and alive. I made a log cabin scarf because I really wanted to do a log cabin project. At the time, I certainly didn’t need another scarf or another project. I want to make a lace scarf out of light green yarn because I like doing lace knitting. Moving forward, I still want to make useful garments but I am realizing that I need to make sure that I leave room to be spontaneous and have fun with my projects. I am also thinking that the next time I am frustrated with a project, I will give myself permission to frog it and put it on hold.

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My Belcarra Cardigan

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I recently finished the Belcarra Cardigan by Robyn Chachula. I am very happy with how it turned out but I found it to be a frustrating project. The main thing that frustrated me was that it took a lot longer than I thought to finish it. I started making this in late November. I finished the sweater in mid May. and I had hoped to be wearing it this past winter. I had to unravel the same section several times before I could get a good start on it. I finally got a good start then I got distracted by Christmas knitting and a log cabin project.

 I thought about putting it on hold or unraveling it a few times. The main reason I kept going was that I had bought the yarn to make the project and I wanted this sweater in my wardrobe.  I did end up up putting it on hold for a while. I finally started working on it again and had to restart a couple of sections several times. Near the end this was all I worked on because I wanted to finish it before it was too hot to wear it. I did finally finish it but it was a struggle.

 Now that it is done, I am glad to have it. It is the nicest sweater I have. Before this project, I didn’t have a nice coat cardigan. This is a much needed addition to my wardrobe. When I was making it, there were times that I wasn’t sure how much I liked it. I didn’t like the sleeves before I added the cuffs. Once I added the cuffs, it came together and looked good but before that, I was pretty discouraged and thought the sleeves looked funny. Now that I am done, I am very happy to have with how this sweater looks. 

Me Made May

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One of the big reasons I have become interested in handmade wardrobe and slow fashion is Me Made May. I found about it from Andi Sattterlund. She is a knit designer who also sews. She has consistently posted outfit photos for Me Made May for a few years. From her posts, I started following the Me Made May hashtag and the handmade wardrobe hashtag on Instagram. I found the posts of people wearing clothes they made inspiring and made me want to focus on making more garments for myself.

 Me Made May is a popular online challenge that starts every year on May 1 and lasts all month. The idea of Me Made May is to challenge participants to wear handmade items every day. It was started by Zoe of  the So Zo blog. Here is an FAQ about Me Made May. Many people who participate will wear an outfit every day  that contains something they made and photograph it. I am not planing to actively participate this year but I will be checking out the hashtag. I encourage you to check it you have any interest in making your own clothes by knitting, crochet, or sewing.

Some Thoughts on Sweater Knitting and Finances

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Some of the Yarn I bought when it was on sale

 In the past I had hesitated to make sweater because of the cost of buying a sweaters worth of yarn at one time. However, I am realizing that you can make a sweater that you couldn’t buy for the price of the yarn. I showed my mom a sweater I made and she would tell me that you can’t buy a sweater like that. When you think about it, she is right, I don’t know where anyone would be able to buy a handmade sweater that is made to your measurements. I looked around and realized that a nice wool sweater can very, expensive and hard to find. For example, I looked at my dad’s LL Bean catalog and a wool sweater from LL Bean is anywhere from 70 dollars on up.

I recently went to the mall and I saw a sweater at a chain store. It was acrylic, made in China and it cost 60 dollars. For 60 dollars you can buy the yarn to make one that is much nicer and that is made with natural fibers. For 50 dollars I bought yarn for 2 sweaters from Knitpicks when they had a sale. I also looked at the sweaters I had bought and they are all cotton. I looked around the stores at the mall and I didn’t see any wool sweaters for sale. Mind you this is in the fall in a cold climate. All this made me realize that  a lot of stores don’t sell wool sweaters for a reasonable price.  

If you know where to look, wool to make sweaters doesn’t have to be expensive. The sweater I recently made was made from yarn I got on clearance at JoAnnes for about 3 dollars each. I used 5 skeins of yarn to make the sweater so the yarn cost me 15 dollars. On the other side of this,  I think that if you can reasonably afford it don’t be afraid to spend a little extra to make the sweater you want out o f the yarn you really want to use. If you live on a tight budget, you can also find yarn that is affordable and with some work end up with a sweater that is nicer than a lot of the sweaters you could find at the mall.

My Finished Sweater

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This past weekend I finished this sweater. I put my log cabin project aside to finish it. I wanted to finish by the end of January so I would have time to wear it before the weather got warmer. I was nervous about doing the sleeves and neckline. I had to pick up stitches to do both and I hadn’t done either technique before. I was especially nervous about the neckline. It was 88 stitches on double pointed needles and I was nervous I would have a bunch of dropped stitches. Thanks to some YouTube tutorial they turned out fine. I am so happy with how it turned out. I have already worn it even though I still need to block it. It is a much needed addition to my wardrobe.

My Favorite Pullover Sweater Patterns

 

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Lately, I have been decided to make more sweaters . When I have been stressed out, I have been looking at sweater patterns on Ravelry to relax. This is a list of some of my favorite pullover sweater patterns. It is a sort of wish list; all of these are either in my favorites or in my queue. If I have time, I really want to make the Margot pullover this winter. The rest may have to wait at least a few months but I still enjoy looking at the patterns.

 The For Irene sweater is one o f my favorites. I just love the lace detail on the sleeves and yoke.

 I love the bold stripes and how this designer used color in the Camaro sweater.

 The Margo sweater has been in my Ravelry queue for ages. If I have time, I mat try to make it later this winter. I like the split him and garter stitch edging.

 The Pixilated Pullover uses stranded color work in a very innovative way and I love the effect.

 The Breathing Space pullover has a unique design with an asymetrical hem. It uses short rows to a good effect.

 I love the garter stitch detail on the sleeves on the Flax Light sweater. Plus if you made this sweater, it would be a solid addition to a handmade wardrobe.

Rethinking my Yarn Stash

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One thing I recently realized is that if I want to make more sweaters, I will have to re think how I buy yarn. I looked at my stash and I didn’t have that much yarn In quantities large enough to make a sweater. I have a lot of smaller amounts of yarn. I also realized that I haven’t made more sweaters in the past because of the cost to buy a sweaters worth of yarn at one time. The sweater I am making now is yarn I bought at Michaels on clearance and the Green Gable I made was a stash buster. Moving forward, I am thinking I may need to be more deliberate about what yarn I buy. In other words, buy enough for a sweater I really want to make instead of several smaller impulse purchases. Earlier this fall I went through my wardrobe to see what sweaters I could use for this fall and winter. The 2 sweater patterns I want to make next will fill the gaps I found in my wardrobe. I need a light weight dark neutral cardigan and lighter colored casual cardigan that is warmer.

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It made me nervous to use up the sweaters amounts of yarn I already had and not be able to make anymore garments for a while. Plus, for the sweaters I really want to make next, I didn’t have the yarn for them. Knit Picks was having a sale and I found out I could buy the yarn I wanted at an affordable price so I went ahead and bought 2 sweaters worth of yarn. I bought Knit Picks Palette in dark grey to make the Featherweight Cardigan and I also bought some Knit Picks Wool of the Andes sport in a lighter grey to make the Belcarra Cardigan. I want to start these projects. I am excited about both of them. I just need to finish up a couple projects I am currently doing. 

My Growing Interest in Slow Fashion

 

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This is the third post in a 3 part series. For the first post I wrote an intro to Slow Fashion October. The second post  was about how my focus on what I want to make has shifted to making more garments. This post is about  slow fashion in general and what sparked my interest. I follow a lot of knitters who also sew. Through following  the knit designer Andi Satterlund, I found out about the Me Made May hashtag because she participates it and posts on Instagram about it. Me Made May is an event each May where people post pictures of themselves wearing clothes they made. From this I found out about the handmade wardrobe hashtag on Instagram. All the pictures of people wearing the clothes they made really inspired me. I also found the slow fashion hashtag and started to read about slow fashion. I was reading more and more posts of people who were being very thoughtful about what they made and added to their wardrobes and that made me think about my own choices in my wardrobe.

 At first I was skeptical of the slow fashion movement. When I first read about slow fashion my first thought was, “You mean the way I have been shopping for years because I never had much money?” At certain times in my life, most of my wardrobe was secondhand mostly because of economic necessity. Money was tight for me and it was the only way to have a decent wardrobe.But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the movement encompasses a lot of my values. I don’t like to waste things, I think it is important to use what you have. I like to reuse materials in creative ways. At 15 or 16 I had read advice saying to only buy a piece of clothing if it will fit with 2 other pieces in your wardrobe and I have been doing it ever since. I have always been pretty thoughtful about what clothes I buy mostly because I have a limited budget. I have been concerned about factory conditions for years but wasn’t sure what I could do about it. Years ago, there was a big scandal over conditions in Nike Factories. I don’t think I have worn Nike Since. At the time, it was very difficult to find concrete information on what fashion companies were doing. This was before the Internet was as big as it is now. It was harder find information. For this reason, I am glad to see a growing interest in slow fashion. It is easier now to track and find sustainable brands. While I read the slow fashion October posts, I find it comforting to read about others who have similar concerns. For now, I have been focusing on gradually making more sweaters I need, mending the clothes I have and checking out secondhand stores in the area.

Inspired by Sweaters

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I have been knitting and crocheting for years but lately my attitude about what I want to make has been shifting. I have decided that I want to focus on making to making more garments. I recently looked at my past projects on Ravelry and realized I hadn’t had a new sweater in over 2 years and that was a sweater I made myself. I also realized that I have been knitting for years but have only made a few sweaters. I had made mostly hats, scarves and shawls. I started to ask myself, “How many hats and scarves do I need?” It affected me to realize that I had made myself so few garments when I love to knit and crochet so much. Karen Templer wrote this blog post about doing a inventory of her fall wardrobe and it inspired me to do the same. I realized that I could use a few more sweaters in my wardrobe.

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 In the past, I have sometimes been pretty random about what I want to make. I would make something because I thougtht the project was cool or to to learn a new skill. I started realizing that I want to be more intentional about what I make. At the same time that I was thinking about this, I made the Green Gable Pullover and really enoyed making it. I am happy with how it turned out and the success of that project inspired me to make more garments. I also discovered the Me Made May and handmade wardrobe hashtags on Instagram. All the pictures of people showing the clothes they made themselves is inspiring to me. So all this has made me realize that I want to be more intentional about what I make and also what I add to my wardrobe.To be honest, I don’t see myself stopping making hats or scarves. I like making hats and they are a small project where I can try out a new skill. However, I also want to make sure I am also making items I can use in my wardrobe. Right now, I am making myself a wool sweater for colder weather. After I finish that sweater, I want to make a cardigan.

Slow Fashion October

 

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Lately I have been starting to get interested in slow fashion. I discovered Karen Templer’s blog  on her website and enjoy it. This month is Slow Fashion October. I am just starting to look into this so I decided to participate  in Slow Fashion October to see what I can learn from it. I will be posting a 3 part blog series on how I became more interested in this topic. With this first post, I want to introduce Slow Fashion October and include some links for further reading. The second post will be about how my attitude towards what I want to knit and crochet has been shifting and the third post will be more on how I become interested in slow fashion in general.

 Slow Fashion October is an online event that was started and hosted by Karen Templer of Fringe Association. It is a discussion on the different aspects of slow fashion and how to have a more ethical wardrobe. The discussions revolve around what it means for various people to practice slow fashion. In a nutshell, Slow Fashion is about being more thoughtful and deliberate with your wardrobe. Most clothing today is made in overseas factories that often have bad conditions. Also many clothes today wear out fairly quickly and are not made to last. Slow Fashion is about making choices to get away from that. Some ways to do that are: making your own clothes, buying clothes that are build to last, mending the clothes you have, buying secondhand, buying clothes from sustainable brands, and being more thoughtful about what you choose to buy for your wardrobe.

 You can read about Slow Fashion October on the Fringe Association blog. For this event, Katrina Rodabaugh will be posting an article each week on the blog. You can also follow Slow Fashion October   and Karen Templer on Instagram. Karen Templer will be posting weekly prompts on the Slow Fashion October Instaram account. The first prompt is “who” and asks people to introduce themselves. This weeks prompt is “what.” In other words, what form does slow fashion take in out closets, what actions do we plan to take towards this. There has been a lot of discussion on the slow fashion October hashtag on Instagram and on the Fringe Association blog. I have enjoyed reading the discussions and have already learned some things. I have found out about some book titles I want to read.