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.
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.
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.
I am a little late with this but I thought I would post some of my goals for my 2018 projects.
1: Stash bust
I have a lot of odd bits of yarn I have collected over the years. Some of it is leftovver from other projects. Some of it is yarn I bought on impulse and some of it friends gave me. I would like to use up some of the odd bits of yarn I have. I did some stash busting projects in 2017 and want to continue this year.
2: Keep making garments
I want to continue to make garments I can use in my wardrobe and be more thoughtful about what I decide to make.
3 Learn to make socks.
I went through my wardrobe and could use some new socks at some point. I have realized that making socks could be a way for me to make things I can really use that may be fun. Before I started looking into handmade wardrobe stuff, I mainly thought of sock knitting as a knitting technique to learn instead of making socks to wear. I am not sure why I thought this. I have already bookmarked some sock patterns that people recommended that are supposed to be good for beginners.
5: Get my crochet mojo back
I feel like I have been knitting more than I have been crocheting lately. I have been more inspired by knitting projects lately. I would like to get some of my crochet mojo back. I have been thinking about making another blanket. After that, I am not sure what crochet projects excite me. I need to read more about crochet and see what would be fun to learn and make.
In an earlier post, I wrote about 2 projects I finished that were stash busters. I finished this blanket back in November. I am incredibly happy with how it turned out. When I was planning it out, I wasn’t sure it was going to work out at all because I didn’t use a pattern for this. When I started to plan this blanket, it felt like a big project for me. I can’t remember when I have been so excited about how a project turned out. It was so exiting to me to finish a bit project and have it turn out well. It really boosted my confidence and makes me want to try other ideas I have been thinking abut doing.
I finished in time for the weather here to get very cold and it came in handy. I found out one of my other blankets had holes that I was’t able to easily repair so I ended up sending it a recycling center. I found this out as I was almost done making this blanket. By time I finished it, I really needed a new blanket. It goes well with my bedspread and has been very cozy. The day I finished it I used it to take a nap and it was nice. The other blanket I made a few years ago was a little too short. I made this one wider and longer and it works out much better. I am thinking about making another blanket but I feel like I need a break from making such a large project.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I wrote a post about the fall projects I wanted to do but since I wrote that, I changed my mind on what I want to make. I listed some patterns I wanted to do but decided to do other projects first. I finished the Green Gable pullover and enjoyed working on it. Since then, I have started I have started making the Ladies Classic Pullover by Jane Richmond. I had wanted to make it in stripes in 4 different colors but it was harder than I thought to get gauge with 4 different colors. When I did gauge swatches, each color had a slightly different gauge. I realized that I wanted a project that would be a stress reliever and this sweater would be harder to make than I thought and using stripes would make it even harder. So I decided to use some light blue yarn that I bought a clearance a few years ago. I had planned to make a cardigan with that blue yarn but I was never convinced that light blue was a good color for a cardigan for my wardrobe. However, I think this blue would make a very pretty pullover.
I am also thinking about making this cardigan. I found out that my favorite black cardigan has a hole in it and I am seriously thinking about making one to replace it. I looked through my Ravelry queue and am thinking about making this sweater in black. I was nervous that knitting a sweater using fingering weight black yarn may drive me crazy so I asked for advice on a Ravelry forum. Most people said that the pattern shouldn’t be too difficult if you can do stockinette stitch by touch. I can do stockinette by touch so I decided I really want to do this sweater.
I am also eyeing this crocheted cardigan. I found this pattern when I was going through old crochet magazines looking for inspiration. I saw this sweater and immediately loved it. It would also fill a gap in my wardrobe. I really want to make this pattern but I would need to order yarn to do this sweater and it would use a lot of yarn. I haven’t decided if I want to go ahead and order yarn and do it or make something using yarn in my stash. In the spirit of using what I have, I am thinking with making this top instead using some Patons Grace that has been in my stash for years.