Slow fashion has been on my mind a lot recently and I’m very glad that Karen Templer is at the helm with Slow Fashion October. If you know me, you’re probably aware of the fact that this concept is really important to my wardrobe. I’ve been dedicating my knitting and sewing to making pieces that are really functional and will last me a very long time and I’m really trying to kick that into overdrive.
For me, slow fashion is all about rejecting the fast fashion industry that exists today. I am not a very good sewist but I feel a strong connection with the women (and it is over 80% female) who make clothing every day for meager wages in unsafe living conditions. For me, it is a privilege to make clothing. For some, it is their only option. When I made my Alder dress, I ripped out so many seams and the collar is just a mess. After the sweat and back bending that went into that piece, I have never had more respect for the women that make t-shirts that are sold for $5.
Slow fashion is a reminder to me that EVERY piece of clothing from the couture runway to the wonky homemade to the Walmart bargain bin is handmade.
I want to use this month to plan the pieces that I really need, to dedicate myself to learning the skills that I’ll use to make them, and for gathering tips from other makers. Creating a handmade wardrobe is hard work. I feel very limited in terms of my time and a bit in materials and skill level (certainly when it comes to sewing) but seeing how others do it and which garments they choose to make is a huge inspiration to me. I’m also so interested in seeing what Slow Fashion means to others. It’s clearly political for me but for others it’s about living with intention or making clothing for body types that the industry ignores or it’s purely the challenge of creating everything.
Are you participating in Slow Fashion October? What are your biggest tips for growing a handmade wardrobe?
It’s getting chilly out there! If you’re looking for some knitwear inspiration, you should download a copy of Holla Knits Accessories Magazine!
As always, Alyson has spearheaded a collection of really exciting and unconventional pieces. Holla Knits always has something that you won’t find anywhere else!
I’m really excited about this magazine because, aside from the gorgeous patterns, there is a little article by yours truly in there! I wrote a bit about learning to crochet after spending the last 10+ years as a knitter. It’s hard to go back to basics! Especially when you’re a stubborn lady like me. Keep an eye out for this photo of my friend Katie’s adorable daughter CE (and my first crochet project is in there, too) in this issue and my article will be close behind.
Do you believe in teaching an old dog new tricks? Have you ever challenged yourself to learn something new?
How about that second-to-last episode, guys? It’s not a secret that Mad Men is one of my favorite shows on television. (I named my first sweater pattern after one of my favorite episodes). I’m gearing up for a real cry-fest in anticipation of the final episode. What will I do once it’s gone?
One of my favorite things about the show’s ruthless attention to detail are Janie Bryant’s amazing costumes. If you’re a Mad Men obsessive like me, you are reading Tom and Lorenzo’s Mad Style every Wednesday to delve into the visual clues Janie is giving us through period clothing alone.
I thought I’d go back through the seasons and pick out a few of my favorite pieces of knitwear. This post will contain spoilers. Maybe you should get watching!
Helen Bishop’s Cardigan
I’ve been in love with Helen Bishop’s mustard cardi since it appeared in the first season. It’s a great piece with little garter stitch texture throughout. I think this ginger needs to borrow some of Helen’s style.
I wrote about Don’s cardigan here. Still in love.
Peggy’s wardrobe has really picked up over the past few seasons, huh? If you want to get some of her style, check out this pattern.
It’s almost all over. I’m going to miss this show so much. Let’s have a moment of silence and watch these gifs of Peggy being a boss.
screens via Tom and Lorenzo
My newest pattern is here! I’m so excited to show you the Elevé Pullover.
This lightweight, cropped sweater is all about geometrics. Elevé features stranded colorwork, intarsia, and saddle shoulders. It’s knit flat with Rowan Wool Cotton. This is kind of my take on a modern Cosby sweater. The shape and colors bring a fresh look to that iconic design. And, of course, there are triangles.
I imagine wearing this with high-waisted shorts but how cute would it look over a maxi dress? I’m really psyched about this top. It feels very true to my style.
You can get the pattern in Knitscene’s Summer 2015 issue which hits news stands April 13th! You can pre-order it today. Or, if you just can’t wait, you can purchase the digital edition right now! This issue is full of great patterns including a Southwestern-inspired collection and featured designer Allyson Dykhuizen (the brilliant mind behind Holla Knits)!
Don’t forget to add Elevé to your queue on Ravelry!
Tags: ballet, colorwork, cosby sweater, cotton blend yarn, cotton yarn, design, digital edition, eleve, knit flat, knitscene, knitscene summer 2015, pre-order, pullover, pullover pattern, rowan, rowan wool cotton, saddle shoulder, summer, sweater, sweater pattern, triangles, wool cotton yarn, yarn
It’s National Crochet Month! So I’m crocheting my first garment!
I spied this pattern for the Sparkle Slipon at work and it just screamed VEGAS. Now, I’ve never once in my life been interested in visiting Las Vegas but Jon has a business trip there in the spring so I am tagging along to get a little sun. And now I’m making this top to wear by the pool. (I’d worry about granny square tan lines but I’ve never had a tan in my life.) It’s just so glittery! Can’t you just picture it?
I’ve already gotten started. I’m using the suggested Vanna’s Glamour in Purple Topaz, Garnet, Gold, Moonstone, Jewel, and Topaz. I figure that, since it’s machine washable, it’ll work well to wear over my bathing suit and I won’t freak out if I get sunscreen on it. Arabia, the crochet queen of the Studio, gave me some help arranging the colors and gave me some advice.
It feels so weird to me being a novice in something. I’m really second-guessing myself with everything about this. Since I’ve made granny squares, I feel like I can handle this piece. It’s really just a big granny square. But working into the chain was incredibly nerve-wracking. My chain looks awful. Jill suggested I try a chinless foundation row. I’m not quite sure if that would work here since it creates a single crochet row but I really need to do more investigating there. Also, don’t even talk about gauge.
How are your foundation rows when you crochet? Have you crocheted a garment?
When I was getting ready to go to Rhinebeck, I realized that I had nothing to wear. I’d designed a bunch of sweaters in 2013 and 2014 but I didn’t have any of them! Some knitters may not know that when you design for a publication you don’t always get your samples back and, when you do, you often don’t see them for a long time. (It’s kind of a funny surprise to get a sweater you made a year ago in the mail.)
I found out that I might be able to get Ilsa back in time to wear for the big event so I was pretty excited to show her off. But I got an email that basically said, “Vickie Howell would like to wear your cardigan for an episode of Knitting Daily TV that’s shooting just before Rhinebeck. Sorry that we can’t give it back!” And I was like, “If Vickie Howell would like to wear my design on TV, I will find a hat to wear to Rhinebeck.” This is not something that happens to a girl every day!
And she really did! The Ilsa Cardigan is featured in Episode 1402 “Thick of It” and Vickie looks great in it! It was styled so well. I love the way the bunched sleeves make it look over-sized and casual. It’s a really fun piece and I’m honored to be part of her show! Check out the trailer:
I haven’t seen the episode yet. Vickie Howell’s show for Interweave airs on your local PBS station! If you don’t get that channel or you’re too cool or cable, you can get a DVD of the complete season here. I’m going to get one for my mom so she can be proud of me forever.
Have you seen this episode of Knitting Daily TV? Were you like, “I wonder where I can find the pattern for that gorgeous cardigan”?
The votes are in! It was a tight race but you guys decided that I should learn to crochet granny squares. And, boy, have I!
I pulled out some stash yarn and experimenting with basic granny square patterns. Quickly, I realized that I really didn’t know how to crochet at all. Whenever I ran into something I didn’t know how to do (double crochet? triple crochet??), I’d check YouTube and figure it out. (I tend to use Lion Brand’s videos. It’s important to use a quality source that you can trust when you’re learning online.) It was remarkably easy to learn. I can’t believe it took me so long to try it.
I didn’t have much leftover yarns that matched each other but I ended up making around 20 granny squares in a week. They’re ADDICTIVE. Who knows what I’m going to do with all of these mismatched granny squares (I said, “I’ll make a bunting!” a hundred times. I do not need more than one granny square bunting.) There are lots of free patterns that I’ve been trying out and I’ve been getting so much inspiration from this Pinterest board. I couldn’t stop. The different shapes really excite me, circles inside of hexagons, flowers inside squares. Each one feels kind of magical. I’m really obsessed with this sunburst pattern. I’ve made so many of them.
I’m not very good at crochet yet. I don’t know which hook to use with which weight yarn the way that I would with knitting needles. I’m not terribly fast since (yet). There are some other things that make me feel like I won’t be giving up knitting any time soon. But in the end, I’m loving the finished product. I’m definitely going to make a lot more granny squares. And, seriously, I love that new-craft feeling. I keep holding granny hexagons up in Jon’s face and yelling, “I did that! Look!” That feeling never gets old.
Will you learn to make granny squares? Have you tried them? Did you think they were easy?
This week is all about skill building and I’ve got a new way for you to do it!
I’ve taught so many people to knit over the past eleven years, I’ve lost count. Sometimes an old high school friend will tell me about a wonky scarf or their first hat that I helped them make and I can’t quite remember doing it. It really makes me happy, though, that those memories are so vivid for them. Teaching someone else to knit is a joy. (I don’t get gooey that often so you better believe I mean it!) And I don’t know any knitter that has not jumped at the chance to teach someone else.
So in that spirit, I want to share Yarndevu with you! Yarndevu is a new site that’s launching very soon in the New York area that’s all about skill-sharing in person. You can use it to learn or teach someone how to knit or crochet and the whole idea behind it is getting together, face-to-face. I love the online craft community (I mean, duh) but it’s really magical when we get together in person and, let’s face it, there’s no better way to learn. It’s hands-on and you can get immediate answers.
Yarndevu is great for anyone that’s googling “How to Knit” (Did you know “How to Crochet” and “How to Knit” were both in Google’s top 5 “How To” searches for 2014?) but it’s also fantastic for people that are looking to graduate to the next step in their craft education. I love the idea of pairing someone very experienced with a newbie! If you’re like me and you want to master a new aspect of the craft (I want to learn brioche this year), or you’re stuck where you are, it’s a great resource as well! Maybe you’re confused about how to turn a heel or you need help reading a colorwork chart. Or you’re a certain knitter that is interested in granny squares but maybe doesn’t know where to start. You can use Yarndevu to find someone that will help to guide you over a coffee.
I’m pretty excited about the launch! I’m really excited to see what I can learn and also teach using this new tool. But most importantly, I am looking forward to using Yarndevu to meet other crafters. You can sign up today and you’ll snag an invite to the launch party later this month. So, what do you want to learn?
ps. Don’t forget to vote for what I should learn next!
Tags: crochet lessons nyc, how to crochet, how to knit, knitting, knitting circle, knitting lessons nyc, learn to crochet, learn to knit, learn to knit nyc, meet up, nyc, skill sharing, teach knitting, Yarndevu
While you might be under the impression that I am a Master Knitter (TM) that knows everything there is to know about everything, that is not the case. In actuality, I don’t know that much about anything but I can give you really good directions to the pedestrian crossing of the Williamsburg bridge (stay on South 6th for three blocks and turn left at Bedford) and I have a fairly extensive knowledge of Mad Men story arcs. I know a thing or two about knitting as well. But there is still more to learn!
New year, new skill, right? I’m torn between two things that I really want to learn but I’m having trouble deciding which to tackle first. I’ve sworn I’d learn to crochet for the past two years. Maybe 2015 is actually going to be the time that I make my first granny square. I’ve also been dreaming of making a brioche scarf for a long time but I’ve been way to scared to try it.
So I need your help! Voting ends Friday 11:59pm EST! Help me pick!
Tags: brioche, brioche cowl, brioche stitch, granny square, how to knit brioche stitch, learn, learn how to knit, learn to crochet, learn to knit, meet me at mikes, Purl Bee, skill builder, technique, two color brioche, vote
Happy Knit Year, everyone! Hope you had a lovely one. Jon and I have a tradition of cooking ourselves a fancy dinner at home and watching the ball drop. I like doing that so much! It feels like a real treat and we don’t have to feel like we’re being lame since we’re staying in. (I love staying in. If you’ve seen me in the past 6 months, you are very lucky.)
Anyway, Pantone announced the color of the year last month. It’s always exciting for me because I’m a nerd for color. I wasn’t very excited about last year‘s color since I don’t really like bright purples. But this year’s color, Marsala, I just love. It’s like the color of my favorite lipstick, a really deep red-brown that’s a little vintage and very easy to wear.
Let me tell you, it was not easy finding yarns that matched this year’s color! I’m not sure if it’s because dyers aren’t into an earthy color like this or that this is a very unique shade of red. Anyway, let me share what I found!
1. Madeline Tosh Pure Silk Lace in Byzantine
2. Sweet Georgia BFL Sock in Terra Firma
3. Blue Sky Alpacas Bulky in Claret
4. Lion Brand Superwash Merino Cashmere in Wine
5. Purl Soho Worsted Twist in Mixed Berry
Will you be wearing Marsala this year? What’s your favorite earth-toned yarn?
Tags: 2015, Blue Sky Alpacas, bulky yarn, color of the year, lace yarn, lion brand, madeline tosh, marsala, new year, Pantone, purl soho, red, red yarn, sock yarn, superwash merino cashmere, Sweet Georgia, worsted yarn