Posts Tagged ‘make’

04
Nov

On Perfectionism

Written by Sarah. Posted in DIY, life, long reads

satin

I’m afraid to talk about perfectionism and knitting. Because it involves me admitting that I’m not a perfectionist in other aspects of my life. I feel like it’s not good to go around telling people that you don’t care about getting things absolutely right, it makes you sound lazy. But perfectionists can be insufferable micromanagers. So maybe it’s ok to not be one. Either way, I suppose it’s time that I come clean. I am not a perfectionist.

When it comes to crafting, though, I’ve had a tough time deciding whether or not I’m a perfectionist. I always used to think that I was one. I mean, making is my raison d’être. I’ve ripped out days and days of work on sweaters and agonized over finding the perfect shade of yellow merino. But then again, how many times have I picked up however many neckline stitches that I wanted or allowed my stripes to jog in the round? How often have I said, “It has some ease so it’ll be fine” or “Blocking will fix that weird part” or “I’m just going to do it this way and I’m sure no one will notice”?

Despite these things that I let slide, I don’t think that the quality of work is lacking. While I believe that hand-made garments turn out as good if not better than their store bought counterparts, I don’t expect my work to be spot on all of the time. And I’m ok with that. I’m not a machine so there are bound to be little things here and there that are not right. So maybe I’m not a perfectionist?

I realized after I tried to teach Jon to knit (a fun experiment when we first started going out) that perfectionists don’t make good knitters. He’s a true perfectionist in all aspects of his life. (“Putting something away doesn’t just mean shoving it under the sink,” he said to me just yesterday.) He worked at a snail’s pace on his scarf, struggling to make every stitch just right. And while it’s nice to make something that looks good, if you got upset every time you dropped a stitch or had the wrong gauge or missed a stitch of colorwork, all of your hair would fall out and you’d burn your yarn while it’s still on the needles. If I went back and fixed every mistake I ever made, I’d never finish everything and I’d hate knitting.

I used to think that getting things absolutely right would be more important to me as I got better at knitting (we all tell beginners not to worry about making something gorgeous) but I haven’t found that to be true. For me, knitting is a balance of doing things well and letting things slide. I’ve definitely been working on precision when it comes designing (thank goodness for tech editors) but at the same time, sometimes you have to just move forward and trust that everything will come together in the end.

Do perfectionists make better knitters because they are exacting? Or does perfectionism make knitting harder because, well, we’re only human? Can you be detail-oriented without being a perfectionist? Are you a perfectionist?

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17
May

We Have to Talk About It

Written by Sarah. Posted in DIY, life

The factory collapse.

I wasn’t going to write about this because I don’t really know what to say. I like to keep things light hearted around here but my heart feels so heavy. I don’t like to write about things that make people sad especially on a Friday because I am a fun distraction from the work you’re supposed to be doing or the laundry you don’t feel like folding. But I can’t keep it in any longer. I don’t really know how to put it into words and I’m not sure if I’m the one who should say anything. I don’t know the history and I don’t work in the industry. But I keep seeing the numbers rise and every time I do, my heart aches.

As someone who makes clothing, even just as a hobby, maybe, especially because it’s a hobby, because for us it’s frivolous and trendy, I feel like I should say something because I know. I know what it takes to make a piece of clothing. I know that it’s not magic. I know that it’s a craft. I’m sure that I’m preaching to the choir here. But this is where my soap box is located.

Being a part of the DIY movement which is in full swing today, especially in Brooklyn, people are starting to get back to the root of it all. Where does our food come from? How is furniture made? What things can I create with my own hands instead of paying a big company? I like being part of that. Because I feel like I’m more aware of what I’m putting on/in/around my body and I can better appreciate what I have. It’s gotten me in touch with countless other women who have sat down to make things today and over the course of history. It’s reminded me of my great-grandfather who cut patterns in the garment district and my grandmother who made my kindergarden Halloween costume. It’s big.

In fact, I enjoy the thought of someone halfway around the world living a life so very different than mine making something that effects my life. That, even though we don’t speak the same language, we are connected because we both know how to make something that you wear. But I can’t come to terms with the fact that so many people are exploited and certainly a number of them are putting their lives on the line.

When I saw this photograph, I cried. (I thought about posting it here but I think it deserves a warning. But please look at it. It’s very powerful and important.) I thought to myself that I could never buy a regular piece of clothing again. That blood was on my hands. That’s incredibly dramatic and also unrealistic but seeing this photograph made me immediately sit down with tears in my eyes and write this. I’ll admit it: I’m going to buy clothing and I alone am not responsible. We have a broken system.

So what can we do?

Here’s what I plan to do. It’s four steps and they don’t seem very big but this is it.

1. Buy less, make more. I’m not going to pretend I have enough time to make everything that I want to wear. But when I do buy, it won’t just be furiously hoarding sale items into my shopping cart and crossing my fingers that they fit. I am going to make sure what I’m purchasing is something that I need and that I love. Pieces that are simple and versatile and timeless. I’ll be honest with myself: while I’d love to always be on trend, it’s just not that important to my life and the greater good. And I think that we can all agree that we’d love to have more dollars in our wallets and room in our closets. Of course, I’ll supplement my wardrobe as I always have by making pieces that I put care and thought into – garments that I’ll be sure to keep for the rest of my life.

2. Make do and mend. I have lots of cheap clothing that I bought years ago and some that I got last season. None of these $5 tees are not supposed to last long. You get what you pay for. But I’m going to stretch those items as long as I can. I’m going to fix holes and add buttons and I’ll do my hardest to make adjustments even though I’m a novice. I’ll care for these pieces as best as I can when it comes to laundry and storage and I’ll always look out for hand-me-downs and vintage pieces even if they need updating and love.

3. Speak up. I don’t just mean writing blog posts where I preach to you guys. That would be annoying. Like I said, I can’t go the rest of my life not buying clothing. Of course, I hope to be buying from companies that are small and local as much as I can afford. After the collapse, I read a lot about what I could do, where I should be shopping. A lot of new stores are on my radar and I want to share them with my friends. But one article said that garment makers fear boycotts because a drop in revenue can cause workers to lose the jobs that pay them the little money that they need to survive. But I’m not just going to use that as an excuse for lazy consumerism. I plan to get in touch with companies that I buy from and let them know how I feel. The customer is always right, right? I’m going to demand that they be transparent and ethical because I do love their clothing and I do want to buy it. I’m going to tell them that I don’t mind paying more. That they can count on me if I can count on them. I’m going to tell the companies that produce in the US or pay their workers living wages that I appreciate what they’re doing and that I want them to keep up the good work and that I’m happy to spend money with them. It sounds idealistic but maybe if enough of us do it, we can make a change.

4. Teach others. To make, of course. If you teach a man to fish, he can eat for the rest of his life. Each piece that they make on their own is one less that they have to buy and you can pat yourself on the back for that – for teaching someone how to do it for themselves and helping them understand the effort that goes into making clothes. Let’s all dedicate ourselves to starting the cycle of buying less and making more and mending what we have by showing others how good it feels to make a piece of clothing from start to finish.

These are the small things that I can afford to do. I wish they were enough but I think it’s a good start. And if I ever find myself coveting a piece of clothing I should otherwise not purchase, I’m going to take a long, hard look at that photo because I think that sometimes I need to remind myself of my priorities.

What will you do to help fix what’s broken?

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09
Nov

KYC Presents: Mochimochi Land

Written by Sarah. Posted in knits, KYC Presents, new york city, photos, toys

Happy Friday everybody! First things first, I want to let you all know that Knit York City is now on Youtube. I think it’s a little more accessible which means that I would love for you all to like the videos, leave comments, and subscribe to my channel!

It’s been a little while since I got to meet with the lovely Anna Hrachovec. When I started looking for designers to include in this series, I was delighted to find out that Anna and I live and work in the same city! I’ve been a big fan of her adorable toys for a while and I think they are just so unique! I love her photographs and her gifs always crack me up!

I hope you enjoy the third interview in the series! Without further ado, here’s Anna!

Big thank you to Anna for letting us into her workspace and pulling out all of her toys! (There was a lot of squee-ing, you can imagine.) Also, these videos could never happen without the support of my girl Ashley and my man Jon! Thank you both!

If you love Anna’s designs, you should check out the photo contest that’s happening over at her blog right now! The deadline for entries is December 3rd!

I’d love to hear what you think! Don’t forget to like and subscribe!

ps. I’ve been writing a lot about the Subway Knits Sandy raffle but I wanted to mention that all profits from the hand dyed Fable Fibers Etsy this month will go toward Sandy relief. The yarn is beautiful! You should definitely check out the shop!

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