Recalibration

I’m happy with my decision to put down all the sweaters and prioritize things a little differently. Recalibrating my energy for the summer has meant focusing on stashing down by knitting hats, and getting down and dirty with my old frenemies, my colorwork socks.

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They’re coming along pretty well, and I’ve tried them on a couple times and been quite pleased. I’m hoping I can wrestle the whole pattern out of the blue yarn, but at this point (both in my drive to finish these and in my resistance to buying new stuff) I am okay with sneaking in the leftovers from previous attempts to make it happen. Perhaps each sock will have a band of some nearly-identical blue around my calves so that the cuffs will end up being the same blue.

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Taking a step back

As happens periodically, I let my excitement for new projects get ahead of my actual wardrobe needs. Rather than continuing with THREE sweaters and a few sewing projects about which I’m neither excited nor confident, I’m going to take a break from ambitious, completely unnecessary crafting and focus on spinning (downsizing my fiber stash), smaller projects to sell at gatherings (downsizing my non-sock yarn stash), and socks that will actually be worn (downsizing my sock yarn stash).

Now is the time for my blue and yellow colorwork socks to finally get the love they deserve! I first improvised them while in rehearsal for the Eugene Opera, in the late fall of 2014. I adored them and wanted nothing more than to show them off constantly, but the shape of the foot was wrong and my tension made them far too tight in the ankles to even pull them on, much less wear them. They’ve been frogged twice, and no previous attempts have stuck, but I’m determined to work it out this time.

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Basic, but not necessary

Between Fibreshare and souvenir yarn shopping, I’ve collected two sweaters’ worth of yarn that I think is calling out to be made into fun cardigans. I currently have the same silhouette in mind for each of them- a Riverside, with all its lovely ribbing and interesting shoulder shaping, perhaps as a cardigan. However, I’m also really charmed by Confetti, and I think the crazy colorful spots in the Colombina would be really pretty with the deep turquoise as a contrast.

20170528_083626The Alegria Colombina and Schmutzerella Let’s Make a Teal are fun and gorgeous together, but there wasn’t quite enough to make a full sweater, so I bought two additional skeins of Colombina through Ravelry. The three skeins don’t quite match each other (it’s interesting to see how different this colorway has been through its many dye lots), but I think it’ll be easy enough to blend them in a way that won’t be too visible. Confetti requires about one skein of the secondary color, which will be the turquoise, and about two skeins of the primary color.

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Obviously, these sweaters will not be filling any holes in my wardrobe, and I find that despite my excitement for the yarn and choosing patterns, I’m not jumping into casting them on. I’ve been paying more attention to my embroidery projects and to purging my yarn and fabric stash, and leaning more towards starting small, stash-busting projects for sale, for the household, or for gifts.

I thought I’d cleanse my palate with a quick hat, so I cast this on last night. The yarn has been sitting in my stash for quite a while (the beige is from Fibreshare last year, the top right coral color is from Fibreshare two years and one address ago, and the bottom red is recycled from a Bins sweater from Portland at least five years and five addresses ago), so I’m excited to set it free and hopefully send it on its way to a head that needs warming. I’m not sure yet what chart I’ll add in, but I’ve been dazzled by stripy Fair Isle designs lately and may lean in that direction.

Stashbusting for basics

Since this is Stashdown 2017, and I am trying valiantly not to bring any new materials or tools into my craft room unless I have a specific plan for them, I’m approaching the Summer of Basics as an opportunity not only to challenge myself to try new things and accomplish some skills-related goals, but to use fabric, yarn, and patterns that have been sitting in my stash.

The tie-dye style scarf on the bottom right is on its way to becoming the first of several Patsy skirts, and the pale pink fabric second from the top left is slated to be a Lisbon slip. I don’t have much of the striped linen on the top left, but I really love it and I think it could be a great boxy top. The striped fabric second from the top right would be great for a structured pair of shorts.

I’m pretty happy with the patterns I’ve tried so far, but there are a couple patterns in my stash that I haven’t used yet and a fair amount of fabric looking for a permanent home. I intend to make a pair of pants, ideally with fabric that would be appropriate for work, and either a dress or top that makes use of some of the lovely linen and lace that my grandmother gave me when I visited last summer.

 

My basic slip: Summer of Basics #2

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For another of my “Summer of Basics” projects, I’ve also been considering making layering camisoles and slips to go underneath knitted tops and dresses. I don’t usually wear slips or camisoles, but they’re clearly a good idea to go with lacy or sheer garments.

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I found a very flattering, sheer, vintage dress at the Goodwill bins, but it had no slip/underlayer with it, so I plan to make the Lisbon slip to go underneath it. The dress originally had big puffy, flowy sleeves with shoulder pads, but I removed them and hemmed the raw edges to keep the disco vibe but ditch the dated silhouette. The fabric is quite crisp and gauzy, so removing the excess will make it a bit cooler and more wearable in the summer here. The Lisbon slip is another Seamwork pattern, like my Patsy skirt, and I’m going to use some very lightweight pink fabric and peach-colored lace that my Grandma de-stashed to me last summer.

Visible mending and garment rehabilitation

I have a number of articles of clothing that, due to stains, holes, or brand logos that keep me from wearing the garment as-is, are calling out for embroidery.

IMG_8228This dress came from a garage sale in New York about five years ago, and I remember spending $2 on it. This was during a notable peak in my Fleetwood Mac fandom, and all its fringe just screams Stevie Nicks. I’ve worn it at the beach and while performing in a psych-rock blues band (Voodoo Banana) over the summer after I graduated college, and I was able to wear it to work back when I worked at a bead store and could dress much more casually. Somewhere in the last couple years the back shoulder section developed an age stain and frayed section, due to being packed in a box or getting sunscreen spilled on it or it ending up on some floor, who knows.

IMG_8240It’s not too noticeable if I’m going to the beach, but why leave it visible when I can decorate over it?

IMG_8245These are plain old straightforward shorts from Target. I bought them about two years ago when I arrived in Charleston and realized I didn’t own nearly enough summer clothing. It appears that either while cleaning or through a laundry accident, they came into contact with some bleach. This is not the end of their life, by any stretch, especially since I can add a pretty design to cover the faded spots and distract from their awkward placement.

IMG_8249This hoodie, a very generous gift from family last Christmas, is exceptionally comfortable and very warm. I love the shearling lining and the fact that it’s roomy enough to be a fantastic layer. However, I really don’t wear clothes with labels, especially not ones this front and center. I thought about gingerly snipping off the patches and surrounding stitching that came with the jacket, but that will inevitably leave a series of stitch marks (a footprint of sorts) that will never quite go away. I plan to remove the stitching and the patches, then cover them with something a bit more personalized and stylish.

Customizing and personalizing my clothing (and home decor) in order to extend its life or make it more wearable and enjoyable is just as valid as making my own clothing from scratch (or more so, since my aim is to conserve energy, money, and resources)! These are all clothing items that I could  have tossed or let languish in the back of my closet for years, but now I’ll be able to get great use out of them, enjoy them much more, and not buy replacements for them.

June’s Stashdown update

IMG_8235Since the end of April when I last posted an update, I have downsized pretty admirably. In addition to finally knitting up some cotton and silk that have been lurking for over a year now, I’ve removed a fair amount of yarn that I know I just won’t use. Some of it isn’t great quality, but most of it is perfectly lovely and just not my style. My ongoing tally of skeins in and skeins out is here, on a Ravelry project tracking page.

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Where did all this mohair come from? And how do I make it go away?!

Mohair (so much mohair!?!), chunky yarn that isn’t Lopi, novelty yarns with sparkles or extra threads… These are things that look nice as yarn, or look like fun to a younger or beginning knitter, or are rejects from someone else’s stash that I ended up adopting but I will never actually use. Most of this stuff has been around for so long that I have no idea where it even came from or what its label said (when it had a label). I’ve definitely had some of it for more than four addresses, perhaps even longer than that. There are plenty of things in my stash that I will use and I am excited to work with, but to these hangers-on, I say good riddance!