Finished Sweater: Lucia Hoodie

  
I finished my Lucia Hoodie! I finished blocking it and sewed the button on last week. 

I was surprised by how much color bled from the yarn. I’ve found Cascade 220 to be pretty notorious for losing color. I don’t think I’d necessarily use it for colorwork. It has been very reliable for single color sweaters though. It pills somewhat quickly, but it is such a good value, workhorse yarn. 

 After wearing it, I need to place the button a little bit better; but, on a whole, I am really pretty happy with it. The sleeves are a bit long, but I sort of like them that way. It is probably going to become a staple cardigan in my wardrobe. 

In upcoming sweaters, I’d like to improve on my button bands. I think they are what make my sweaters look homemade. If anyone has good resources, please send them my way. I always feel like one side of the button band looks a bit different than the other. One thing I’m thinking is that playing with different selvages might work. 
Blocking and finishing well are still some areas I’d like to develop more too. 

Getting good photos is also still hard – hence the selfie. Sometimes I feel like my photos get taken from all the wrong angles, and getting a flattering picture seems impossible. 

Onto the next project: a sweater for my husband! 

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Slow Fashion October Week 5: KNOWN

It is hard to believe that the month of October is just about over. This month has flown by. Admittedly, I am not quite ready to say goodbye to this month. There are a whole host of reasons that I am not ready, but I think the perhaps the biggest reason is that I am not quite ready to enter into our first holiday season since my mom died. Her birthday just passed, so she has been weighing heavily on my mind. This does tie into slow fashion a little because I really started to knit much more as my mom’s health deteriorated. It was something that I could do while I was in the airport or simply sitting by her bead side. Oddly, it is something that now, even though my mother never knit, makes me feel connected to her.

As I started knitting more, particularly over the last year, I rediscovered my love for the wool-y wools, and hence, I discovered some local yarn shops that are close to paradise. There are some AMAZING producers of yarn in my area and where I’m from in California. In the PNW and in northern California, local movements have really taken off, so I am fortunate to live in an area where I have a lot of options available to me.

Some of my new favorites (among many others) have become:

Just over this past weekend, I also discovered a yarn that is milled very near where I live on Whidbey Island, so of course, I had to pick some up. (Abundant Earth Fiber). In the spring, prior to moving to Whidbey, we were able to visit a woman who raises alpaca and spins their fiber. There are also several other producers of yarn and fiber on the island whose yarns and roving I am just itching to try.

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I find that sustainable fabrics, where you can trace their origins, much more challenging to find. So, if anyone knows of any good sources for fabric with sustainable practices, I’d love to know of them. Sewing is one area where I hope to improve my skills, but also become more knowledgable about how to make it sustainable as well.

Slow Fashion October Week 4: WORN

It is fun to reflect on and think of some of my most worn pieces.

Up until, somewhat, recently, I’ve been mostly an accessories knitter. I had knit sweaters in the past, but they weren’t as wearable as I had hoped – often because of confidence issues and poor yarn choices. But, I digress. I have a few staple cowls and scarves that I just adore. However, I think my favorite one is one that I didn’t knit myself; I received it as a gift from a former client’s mother. That was almost five years ago, and I still treasure it. There are certain things that are totally ubiquitous to me: a cup of coffee (often my orange Hyrdoflask travel mug) and this cowl. It is so simple, but the color and style are just perfect.

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My other absolute favorite was a hat that I made. This hat, unfortunately, got a hole in it and couldn’t be repaired. I lingered over it for days before I finally said “goodbye” to it. It is on my list to find some yarn or spin some yarn so I can make another. Of course, I can’t remember the yarn, but I still have the pattern. I had to say goodbye to another beloved hat not long before due to an unfortunate laundry incident that resulted in a very felted hat.

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I’ve also been able to give new life to so many of the little hats that I knit for Little One by passing them on to friends who have had kids too. It is so fun to see the adventures that my knits have gone on through them.

As I start new projects now, particularly as I venture into more planned garment knitting, I try to consider the longevity of the piece. I am focusing on making pieces that can be wardrobe staples. So, I am trying to choose the neutral colors that I love, and use yarns that are known for longevity. It is so easy to be swayed in to knitting something that looks fun or funky, but in the long run, I just don’t wear those pieces.

My sewing machine, serger, and I continue to work on developing a working relationship. Some projects have been far more successful than others. I am getting much more adept at reusing some of my shirts to make into skirts for my daughter. They are easy to make, and she LOVES them. It is so nice to get some extra miles out of a shirt that I can’t really wear anymore.

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I often think about thrifting and second hand, but those shopping experiences are such a challenge for me. When I walk into a store, it is so hard to wade through the clutter to find the “good stuff.” Getting over the fact that someone else wore it before me (even knowing that it has been washed) is still an obstacle some times too. I have a Pinterest board that is filling up with refashion ideas, so soon I think I will be venturing into some thrift stores to see if I can’t try some. One of my big goals is to repurpose yarn from a found sweater some day.

Slow Fashion October – Week 3: LOVED

How are we almost halfway through the month already? 

The theme for this week is LOVED. 

I am a minimalist at heart, and fashion for anything other than comfort has never been a huge priority of mine. When I look at my wardrobe, I don’t think I look at a piece or an outfit and think “wow,” but it is all simple and functional. More importantly, I like what I have to choose from, and I’m comfortable in my clothes. 

I am proud of the sweaters I’ve knit recently, and they’re getting lots of wear. 

   
 
When I think of this theme, my daughter pops into my mind. She is a child who loves her handmade clothes! Little One loves and wears her sweaters, and she proudly announces that I’ve made them for her. 

   
 

Slow Fashion October – Week 2: Small

Here for week two of Slow Fashion October!

The theme for this week is SMALL.

As I mentioned in my post last week, we recently moved. We actually moved from a house that was about 1,000 square feet, to one that is a hair over 2,000. Our new house actually has a garage and a little cottage on the property as well. Despite the upsize in house and space, we actually did a lot of downsizing of furniture that had been bothering us (we’re moving on from IKEA), and we all went through our wardrobes in preparation for the move as well. This move has really inspired our little family to live more consciously. As I went through my wardrobe, I finally allowed myself to let go of and donate some of the items that I kept from before my pregnancy that I was so convinced that I would fit back into some day. I realized that even if I could fit back into a lot of those clothes, they weren’t really clothes that fit with my overall comfort level anymore; I had kept them on principle. I also put some shirts that were looking a little worse for wear into the repurpose pile. I am a big fan of repurposing shirts into skirts for my daughter.

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As I think about adding more handmade items into my wardrobe, I’ve tried to be much more thoughtful about adding pieces that will fit into my everyday wardrobe. I want to be careful that I am not making stuff for the purpose of making more stuff – I want the items to be functional. I always get tempted to make dresses or more high fashion looking items, but when I think about what I am most comfortable in, it comes down to jeans and a sweater or jeans, a cardigan, and a shirt. So, I am trying to add more pieces that fit into those categories. I am getting a lot of use out of the Audrey Cardigan, which I made at the beginning of the summer. I am also excited to wear my Lila Sweater and my Antrorse Sweater as the weather starts to cool.

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I am a girl who likes her basics, through and through. When I buy clothes, which is rarely because my husband tends to buy them for me, we buy from a company called Threads for Thought. They are transparent with their business practices and aim for sustainability, so we feel good buying from them. They also offer really good wardrobe staples that are very comfortable.

Fall Knitting Line-Up

It is feeling so fall-like here in the PNW. It has been a nice break from the very hot summer we had. Moreover, with all of the knitting I did and am doing, I’m quite looking forward to cooler weather. It also has me queuing so many projects.

Currently, I am working on the Antrorse by Shannon Cook of So Very Shannon.

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I am knitting it in Cascade Eco. It is going quite fast so far, and I am really enjoying it.

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The Lucia Hoodie is next on my list. I just bought some navy blue yarn for it!

After much pining, and a little spending money after my birthday, I just purchased a copy of Home & Away by Hannah Fettig and Color Wheel Knits by Vera Valimaki. Each have several patterns that I am itching to try.

What are your projects for fall?

Watching: True Cost

Last week, I finally sat down to watch True Cost, a documentary about the fashion industry, and specifically low cost fashion. I highly recommend it. It is available on Netflix. The film’s website also lists other platforms for watching. I think the film does a beautiful job of highlighting how the fashion industry is hugely exploitative of both people and of the environment. The interviews and footage are unforgettable. After watching the film, I don’t think anyone could look at a table of $5 shirts at Target in the same way again. 

Such low cost clothing has almost made it feel like it’s disposable, and that is not a socially or environmentally sustainable attitude. The notion of a handmade wadrobe becomes increasingly appealing as you watch the film. I hope the industry might begin to feel the impact if more people commit to more sustainable clothing options, whether it is through people making more clothing or choosing to buy from companies with more sustainable practices. The tags tell us where our clothing comes from, and it is time to stop ignoring those tags. 

In some areas, I’m definitely making progress toward a more handmade wardrobe, but I have a ways to go in others. As I have started to clean my wadrobe of the inexpensive shirts and pants, I’ve done my best to reuse the fabrics in some way. I try to use old shirts to make clothes for my daughter or to make shopping bags. We pass clothes from my daughter to younger kids to prolong the life of those items. We donate well-loved items as well, but the fate of those pieces is not completely clear. I hope that in the next year, I can find a sweater to unravel and give some yarn new life. I am grateful that I am able to sew and knit sweaters and shirts. As I buy yarn and fabric, I am also beginning to research the companies and their environmental and social practices as well. I am trying to move away from the big-box stores as much as possible and turn toward more local options. In terms of wardrobe, I find pants to be a big stumbling block. They tend to come from some of the areas with the most egregious practices. Obviously, I am not going to knit myself pants (it would be weird).  But, my sewing skills are not quite up to the task of making pants quite yet. But, it is something to begin aspiring to. 

In any case, watch the documentary, share, and discuss.