Archives For slow fashion october

Week two of Slow Fashion October has just finished. The prompt for this week, “Small” was actually a big one for me.

From Fringe Association:

Week 2, October 5-11: SMALL
handmade / living with less / quality over quantity / capsule wardrobe / indie fashion / small-batch makers / sustainability

A lot of those words have been coming up for me over and over again this past year. From my interview with Ben Hole a few months ago about his family’s ultimate small-batch one-flock yarn to the ongoing Curious Handmade Wardrobe project, I’m diving into these themes repeatedly. What’s funny is that when I saw the prompt “Small” my mind immediately went to a slightly different place. I remembered a project I made eight yeas ago: my very first pair of handmade socks.

socks

The pattern was Falling Leaves by Jessica Landers, and I’ll never forget about it. It was definitely a slow project for me! But I gained a totally disproportionate amount of joy from such a small garment, I learned how to knit a sock, started to learn how lace operated…I’m pretty sure I followed the chart upside down and back to front and it was years later before I realised why I could never get it to look like the picture (slow process alright). I also used a completely inappropriate yarn for socks but loved the project so much anyway that it didn’t matter that I could only wear them around the house and to bed.

With my current projects, I’m still stretching myself. Learning is still a slow process for me, and the results are still incredibly satisfying. I have just finished a single tunic dress. It’s a simple piece but the fabric feels wonderful. It’s a classic navy colour, which wasn’t the easiest to sew (at least not at night) but it will be a perfect capsule wardrobe piece. As a beautiful neutral canvas, it will look amazing with all my lovingly-knit shawls. After all the planning and talking about less being more, and quality over quantity, this piece feels like a real achievement…one small step closer to my ultimate goal of living with less.

Now I’m planning a skirt out of The Fibre Co (Dry Goods) woollen fabric. This fabric is a new venture for The Fibre Co and is currently very small batch! With this project I really want to relish every small detail of the process, from start to finish. I plan to draft the pattern to fit me and take my time designing it exactly how I want it. This is a garment I want to suit me and and make me happy and no one else, without having to care if its “fashionable” or not!!

I wrote a lot last week about my desire to live with less, and a more recent part of that process has been serious decluttering process. I went through my wardrobe pretty carefully, and selling/giving away so many clothes I didn’t love was a real lesson in not making rash, un-thought-out purchases. There were lot of things bought on sale because they were a good deal or in a rush because I was desperate for an event or change of size. They didn’t bring me joy. (A quality Marie Kondo talks a lot about in her wonderful book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.) Taking my time means I need a lot less things – and having a smaller wardrobe means it is much easier to see what will coordinate with what I have. It has dramatically shifted my shopping and making habits for the better.

Resources/links

Play

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On this week’s show I’m introducing a really fascinating swatch along, catching up on the Summertide MKAL and Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge, and continuing to explore what Slow Fashion means for me and for us as a society. It’s a subject that I’m really passionate about (as you’ll hear!) and the deeper I go with it the more meaningful it becomes.

Show Sponsors

Today’s show is sponsored by The Fibre Co, and their beautiful Acadia yarn.

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Acadia is named after the oldest American national park east of the Mississippi river, a place of natural beauty where the sea and mountains meet, slopes are densely forested and wild blueberries abound. Acadia National Park is in the state of Maine, The Fibre Co.’s birthplace.  The yarn inspired by this beautiful region has a rustic look and a soft hand. A subtle tweed effect is created by the silk noil that is combined with a heathered base made from fine merino wool and brown baby alpaca. The yarn is a classic DK weight and makes a beautiful textured fabric that is perfect for next to the skin accessories as well as garments.

You can snag yourself some Acadia at our other sponsor’s shop, Meadow Yarn:

Meadow Yarn 

Meadow Yarn is an inviting online retailer selling yarn, needles and notions. It’s a small, family business based in rural Suffolk in the UK. Meadow Yarn was born out of a passion for beautiful yarn and knitting accessories and aims to bring you a range of great products. Yarns stocked include madelinetosh, Eden Cottage Yarn, the Fibre Co and many more.

Show Links

I was excited to learn about the Breed Swatch Along that the Knit British Podcast is hosting!

Shiny Bees Podcast where I first heard about the SAL

Knit British Podcast Episode 42 which introduces the SAL

Breed Swatch Along FAQs

I mention several natural yarns I’ve got stashed (and/or have used in the past) which would be great for the Breed Swatch Along:

Black Bat

Blacker Yarns

whisperingislandblacker2

Whispering Island in Blacker Yarns Shetland DK

Hole and Sons Poll Dorset

I’m hoping to participate because the Meet My Yarn KAL I hosted a while back was so fascinating to me, and I didn’t quite feel finished with exploring the subject of fibre-focused swatching when it was over.

The Curious Handmade Meet My Yarn KAL thread…lots of great info there

Fibre Company Cumbria which sponsored the Meet My Yarn KAL

I also have two books that I think would be amazing resources for this SAL:

The Field Guide to Fleece: 100 Sheep Breeds & How to Use Their Fibers

Pure Wool: A Knitter’s Guide to Using Single-breed Yarns

What’s in the WIP

Slow Fashion October 

– Karen Templer from Fringe Association is giving us all great prompts for thinking about how we consume fashion, and I’ve started a blog series in response.

– I mention Fashion Revolution

The Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge

The challenge is still going strong! It ties in beautifully with Slow Fashion October, so it’s been great to see the cross-pollination going on. I’m still working on my Times Square and need to put the sleeves into my Merchant and Mills Dress Shirt. The finishing date is October 31st, so you’ve still got some time!

Summertide MKAL

The last clue has been out for a week, and the FOs are beginning to flow! We’ve got great prizes, so make sure to post a photo of your finished shawl in the Summertide FO thread by Oct 31st to enter!

Knitvent 2015

This project is still top secret, but I’m working hard to get it ready! I’ll be offering an updated version of my popular (and free!) Holiday Gift Knitting Planner very soon, so that you have lots of time to get properly prepared for the season. Keep your eyes out for that, along with hints about the new Knitvent collection!

Upcoming Events

Online Reveal Party for the Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge and Summertide MKAL

Save the Date! Tuesday November 3rd

Since we’ve got two big projects finishing at the same time, I thought it would be really fun to get together on Ravelry and Instagram to showcase styled photos of our completed items. I’ll be starting a thread on the Curious Handmade Ravelry Group, and we’ll take the hashtags by storm.

#CHWchallenge

#SummertideMKAL

There might even be a surprise or two!

The Pebble Beach Workshop:

Friday October 23rd

I’m hosting and teaching an in-person lace-knitting workshop based on Pebble Beach at the beautiful Makelight Studios in London. It’s going to be a wonderful day of exploring creativity and skills, and I’d love to see you there if you can make it!

That’s it for the show notes today. Happy knitting!

Slow Fashion October: Week One

Helen —  October 5, 2015 — 2 Comments

As I’ve mentioned on the podcast a few times, I’ve been really excited about Slow Fashion October, a movement that Karen from Fringe Association is hosting this month. I’ve already been thinking a lot about the subject of slow and handmade fashion throughout the Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge. Karen’s invitation has led me to dive a little deeper into my own journey on this path. I’ve decided to blog my way through Slow Fashion October with a series of weekly blog posts in response to Karen’s prompts. I’ve been really enjoying the chats on these subjects on the Curious Handmade Ravelry group, and I hope the added richness of Slow Fashion October will spark even more wonderful conversations.

Here’s Karen’s prompt:

“Slow Fashion is a big subject, and I want every week to be inclusive of everyone who might be interested — from sewers and knitters to thrifters and menders and anyone just trying to be more mindful and informed about where their clothes are coming from and what environmental impact their buying habits have. So I’ve broken the month down into weekly themes that encompass everyone, hopefully—

Week 1,  October 1-4: YOU
First let’s introduce ourselves: Where are you at with all this / What first got you interested in Slow Fashion / What are your skills / What do you hope to get out of Slow Fashion October / What are your personal goals for the month / Do you have a special project you plan to tackle this month?”

It all started out wanting to live with less about 7 years ago. It was something that started in a very small gradual way and there have been several different influences and reasons for making changes.

A few years ago I started to get disturbed by my increase in consumption — partly prompted by the birth of my children — each affected me in quite different ways.

When I had my first child I foolishly spent a LOT of my precious maternity leave (and pay) shopping both in shops but mostly online, with one hand while feeding/patting/held captive with a sleeping baby on me, too scared to move. I thought I could solve every child rearing problem (that wasn’t a problem at all, in retrospect) with a gadget or soothing device. We survived the first couple of years of parenthood and my rate of shopping eventually slowed down a bit.

When I had my second I had started to think a lot more about environmental issues (something about having kids often prompts this awareness and it certainly was true for me). So by the time Lexie arrived I had a very different mindset

I had kept most of my baby clothes and stuff in the hope of having a second child – but before she was born I actually started selling and giving a lot of the extra things away. I knew that I didn’t need or want a lot of the extra stuff and that it actually just got in the way and slowed things down a lot of the time.

Then I returned to work but found I really didn’t enjoy my job any more. I started thinking that if I didn’t need to buy so much “stuff” then perhaps I didn’t need to earn as much.

I was very influenced by Leo Babauta at Zen Habits as well as other blogs on minimalism. I remember sitting at my desk reading them and starting to change my thinking and increase my awareness of my own behaviour. I started noticing that a boring or upsetting day at work meant a treat: ie shopping.

My best friend also passed away after losing a 4 year fight with cancer around this time so I had been investigating lots of topics around being healthier and less stressed. It seemed to make even less sense to be working in a job I didn’t enjoy to pay for childcare and a bunch of disposable clothes and stuff I didn’t really need.

Now I’m interested in dramatically reducing my and my family’s consumption generally but especially of plastic items.

I am still a long way from where I would like to be in this regard. I find it very difficult to avoid buying plastic and I still enjoy shopping and buying clothes. But I’m happy that I’ve also come a long way and have a lot less in my wardrobe and hope to make more of my clothes myself. I have all the skills I need to sew, knit and make things. For me the bigger challenges are finding time and not just quickly buying things for convenience sake. Also a challenge that we all face is sourcing the sustainably produced materials such as yarn and fabric.

I have sewn my own clothes since I was 7 and was taught by my mother, but stopped sewing when I was in my 20’s. I’ve been knitting and designing for a few years now but haven’t made many garments (yet!).

I will think about whether I can add another special Slow Fashion project to my making list this month but I think realistically, and to keep things nice and slow, I will stick with my Curious Handmade Wardrobe challenges of sewing the Dress Shirt by Merchant and Mills and knitting the Times Square vest by Norah Gaughan.

Play

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I’m so thrilled to have my Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge collaborator Susan on the podcast today. Many of you have met her on Ravelry as Kizmet, and through her wonderful guest posts here on the blog during the challenge. We have a wonderful chat about Susan’s journey to sewing for herself, about how struggling through the lessons is such a valuable part of any process, and about how we and many other participants are doing with our declared challenges so far!

Show Sponsors

Today’s show is sponsored by The Fibre Co, and their beautiful Acadia yarn.

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Acadia is named after the oldest American national park east of the Mississippi river, a place of natural beauty where the sea and mountains meet, slopes are densely forested and wild blueberries abound. Acadia National Park is in the state of Maine, The Fibre Co.’s birthplace.  The yarn inspired by this beautiful region has a rustic look and a soft hand. A subtle tweed effect is created by the silk noil that is combined with a heathered base made from fine merino wool and brown baby alpaca. The yarn is a classic DK weight and makes a beautiful textured fabric that is perfect for next to the skin accessories as well as garments.

You can buy your own Acadia at our other sponsor’s shop, Meadow Yarn:

Meadow Yarn 

Meadow Yarn is an inviting online retailer selling yarn, needles and notions. It’s a small, family business based in rural Suffolk in the UK. Meadow Yarn was born out of a passion for beautiful yarn and knitting accessories and aims to bring you a range of great products. Yarns stocked include madelinetosh, Eden Cottage Yarn, the Fibre Co and many more.

What’s in the WIP

Summertide MKAL: Clue 4, the final clue is just out now! I’m going to be planning an end-of-KAL online party to celebrate our finished shawls, and if I can manage it, I’d love to have a little in-person party here in London. If spoilers don’t bother you, check out the hashtag #SummertideMKAL on Instagram. Lots of inspiration there!

We have three wonderful sponsors for the MKAL:

Skein Australia

Meadow Yarn

MariaElenaBliss

they will all be offering wonderful prizes at the end of October. Believe it or not, it’s not too late to join us! You can do it!

Show Links

Susan and I mention a whole bunch of influences and resources that helped her start thinking about learning to sew.

Project 333 (starting today!)

A Playful Day’s Interview with Sonya Philip

Curious Handmade Interview with Beth Kempton of Do What You Love

Do What you Love Course

Paper Fifty Three App

Cal Patch’s Classes on Creative Bug [affiliate link]

Nicole of Stash and Burn

Elizabeth Doherty Sleeve Construction

The Washi Dress

Libby from Truly Myrtle’s Guest Post for Curious Handmade

So many adorable finished objects are showing up in the Curious Handmade Ravelry Group…check out the threads to see all the great makes we mentioned.

Alabama Chanin

Events

Fringe Association Slow Fashion October

I mentioned this wonderful event hosted by Karen Templar last week, and I’m excited to take part. It’s going to be a beautiful exploration of the handmade. She’s just written a lovely opening post on her blog. Join us! The hashtag is #slowfashionoctober and I expect Instagram will be hopping.

Truly Myrtle’s Spoil Yourself Stitch Along

Just a couple of days left in this event, and she has some amazing sponsors providing wonderful prizes. If you’ve been making anything for yourself in the last few weeks, post your FO to the Ravelry Thread

The Pebble Beach Workshop: This is for any listeners within traveling distance from London! I am going to be hosting my first in-person workshop at Makelight Studios. It’s a beautiful space, and I’m very excited.

On Friday the 23rd of October I’ll host a lace-knitting workshop based on Pebble Beach. I’ll take you through all the basics and most frequently asked questions. It’s a great way to stretch yourself creatively in a supportive and inspiring environment. Places are very limited, so if you’re interested, please do book early!

That’s all our notes for this week! Thank you so much for being a part of the Curious Handmade Community. I’ll speak to you next week. Until then, happy knitting!