Monthly Archives: October 2015

WIP: Spring lines sweater + a great podcast about gauge

 

Hi

My spring lines sweater is progressing slowly. Here are some photos of the work in progress.

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Up till now it’s a fun project and what pleased me most is that my gauge was almost perfect (well, this rarely happens, don’t you think?).

Then I remembered this very good podcast, the first episode of KNIT.FM where Hannah Fettig & Pam Allen talk about gauge. It a really great podcast if you want to deepen your knowledge on the subject:  what is it?  How to knit a gauge swatch? How to measure your swatch? Does row gauge matter? What if you can never “get gauge”? And a lot more.

Yes, I know some people (not knitters of course ) may think it is strange to listen to people who talk about gauge for half an hour. But Pam and Hannah are so nice and talk at eye level.  I listened to it while cooking dinner and enjoyed very much  🙂

Inspiration – October

Hi

Here are some of the things that are on my mind this month:

Something to read

Reading fringe association’s update about slow fashion October I bumped into this very interesting post by Ysolda teague. It’s called “Getting lost in the wardrobe” and it was written on April 2013, not long after the disaster of the garment factory in Bangladesh. She starts the post with a map of the world showing all the countries she found on clothing labels in her closet.  Then she share her thoughts and questions about what is a more ethical clothing choice. She present a view about some issues that take place in clothing factories and also talks in a very balanced and thought-provoking way about  why it’s important to focus on good quality and fit of the clothes we buy (or make) in order to love them and use them longer.

 In a similar matter: this is Sifted, a new blog that means to be a slow fashion directory. As I mentioned before, finding resources for slow fashion clothing and also sewing and knitting supplies is interesting me but I feel it’s hard to carry out. Think I’ll be following this blog to see what I can learn about this.

Something to learn

When I started to sew with knits I was a bit confused. It turns out that there are so many kinds of knit fabrics, with different qualities. How do you know what to look for when you go to the fabric store to choose a knit fabric? In the past two weeks Colette patterns published a few excellent video tutorials (as a promo for a new pattern release coming soon). This one is a simple dictionary for knit fabric terms and this one is about the 5 things to look for when shopping for knits.

So many possibilities

One of my plans for fall is to sew a fall/winter skirt. Now I start to think about the different options. I tried to narrow my ”fall skirt inspiration” pinterest board to just a minimal amount of photos so I can focus.

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So:

With or without pleats?

Light or dark color?

One color or plaid?

Wool or some lighter fabric?

 What do you think? Please let me know.

Michal

SLOW FASHION OCTOBER, week 3: LOVED

IMG_9203_1All though the temperatures are still high around here, for me this time of year is the time when I can start knitting again. The nights are not so hot anymore, sometimes you can even feel a cold breeze, last week was slightly rainy (yes….I love rain) and you can breathe again.

To celebrate the opening of my knitting season and share my thoughts about LOVED for slow fashion October I thought I’ll write about some of my most loved knitted items.

  When considered my choices I asked myself a few basic questions:

  • How much I wear this?
  • Why I love this?
  • How I felt during the process of knitting it?

So here they are:

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  1. Pattern: Strokkur by Ysolda Teague, yarn: Istex Lett-Lopi, wool from Iceland.

I loved this knitting pattern when I found it on Ravelry, it reminded me of the cozy Nordic sweaters many people used to wear when I was little, but in a good way. What is pretty about this design is the fitted shape, as opposed to traditional islandic sweaters that are usually bigger and bulky. I also like the delicate fair- isle pattern that circles just around the collar. Knitting this sweater was an enjoyable experience and I’m very much attached to it.

It’s my warmest sweater. At first I was a bit concerned that maybe it will be too hot for our weather and I won’t use it enough. Happily for me, in practice I wore this sweater every single week in the past few winters (that in Israeli terms were very cold).In winter months I reach for this one whenever I can’t decide what to wear, and that is exactly my definition for a most loved garment.

It’s true that the yarn is a bit itchy, but I wear it with a shirt underneath so I don’t mind. In addition it became softer with the constant wearing and washing over the years. If you look closer, you can see it’s already slightly worn out.

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  1. Pattern: Lady marple by Nadia Cretin-Lechenne, yarn: Cascade Yarns, Alpaca Lana D’oro in olive oil color.

I knitted this cardigan last year because I needed a warm cardigan. Immediately it became my favorite cold weather layering piece. I love the vintage style that reminds me 30s and 40s English sweaters, but in a contemporary color. The yarn color name is “olive oil” but to me it seems more like a shade of mustard.

I long thought of combining this color in my wardrobe but wasn’t sure if it will look good on me. Gladly I discovered it suits me nicely and also work well with many clothes I have in my closet.

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  1. Pattern: Abigail by Cecil Glowik MacDonald, yarn: Filatura Di Crossa, Gioiello.

This is a very simple cardigan knitted with a very light and soft fingering weight yarn. I received the yarn as a gift from Gs mother. I probably wouldn’t buy myself pink and purple with tinny sequins but as soon as I made the gauge I fell in love with the color of the fabric I made and I knew my mother in low made a perfect choice for me.  The simple shape of the cardigan emphasize the beautiful yarn.

I wear this cardigan all the time. I think it’s one of my most useful garments. I wear it in transition seasons, in warmer days of winter and in the summer days when the air condition is freezing me.

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  1. Pattern: Nashira by Julia Crawford from knitted Bliss, yarn: Neighborhood Fiber Co., Loft.

The yarn I used for this scarf is a lace weight hand dyed yarn that is a blend of mohair and silk, dyed by the independent American yarn artist Krida Collins.

Generally I don’t knit scarfs, and I’m a little intimidated by lace weight yarns since I’m a slow knitter. I always prefer to knit sweaters, and I don’t wear many accessories. This one is an exception. I loved this yarn so much that I decided to devote my time and to make something nice out of it.  And it was a long process. It took me a whole summer of knitting (in the air condition of course) to finish this scarf.

The design is a beautiful lace pattern, not very complicated but you need to focus and be attentive not to mess the pattern. Until than I didn’t have the courage to knit a lace pattern (probably based on some unsuccessful attempts many years ago). Knitting this scarf slowly and patiently was a great lesson for me and also strengthened my confidence in my abilities. I’m very proud of this delicate scarf and I think it’s one the most beautiful garments I own.

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This week I made a gauge and cast on for a new sweater: Spring Lines pattern by La Maison Rililie.  So a new WIP was born.

Slow fashion october

IMG_20150918_152311A few days ago I read about slow fashion October the concept by Karen Templer from FRINGE ASSOCITION, and I’d love to take a part.

Since I’m a little late (it’s week 2) I’ll write my introduction and SMALL theme shortly in this post.

I’m Michal. I sew and knit in my free time (after the kids go to bed….).

Being slow in a fast world is something that I think about a lot in regard to many aspects of life. Since I’m knitting, and more than this when I started sewing, I realized how much work it takes to make a garment.

I know I’m lucky because I enjoy this so much, but somewhere in the world I know there are people, many people, that have no choice.  People that have to work very hard in very unfair condition in order to make the cloths we want to consume but don’t want to pay a lot for.  Knowing this makes me feel uncomfortable to buy this cloths. Add to this all the environmental issues of our over-consumption, and you have a big dilemma.

So what all this means for me?

In the past two years I made a decision to buy less cloths. At about the same time I started being interested in teaching myself to sew. Now, if I want to summarize my progress toward a more conscious wardrobe, here are my reference points for the moment:

  1. I certainly bought significantly less. Sewing for myself also reduced my desire to buy industrialized cloths (yes, still sometimes I’m tempted, but can count on my fingers the things I bought this summer for example).
  2. I tide my closet of cloths I didn’t use regularly (but still have too many and must try not to accumulate unnecessary things)
  3. The thing I’m most proud of is that almost every day I wear something made by me. As for now I think that more than 30% of my everyday cloths are handmade.
  4. I also try to be slow in the process of making. Lately I think more on details, good finishing, and try to use better yarn and fabric. I decided to work slowly and focus on quality in order to make better garments that I could wear for a long time.
  5. I try to plan my sewing and knitting projects and focus on things I need and like.
  6. I choose my patterns mostly from independent pattern designers (because I like them more and also because I believe they deserve my money more than big commercial companies)
  7. I try to learn new things and improve my skills in order to become a better sewer or knitter and wear my handmade cloths proudly.
  8. Lately I try to be more conscious and learn more about where my yarn and fabrics came from. I have to admit this is the hardest part of the process and I’m still new and wish to deepen my knowledge in this field.

That’s it for today. I’ll be back next week to share some of my most loved handmade cloths.

 

How I picked my first sewing pattern + Agnes top and miette skirt

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When I started to learn how to sew I was looking for patterns suitable for beginners, but didn’t really find anything I liked. Until I found this lovely blog and site. Tilly walnes from Tilly and the buttons introduces herself as designing “step-by-step guides to sewing your own clothes for the new wave of DIY dressmakers”.

Miette skirt is the first garment I ever made a few years ago. The title that caught my eyes was “the perfect sewing project for beginners!”.  Well. I didn’t believe. It looks complicated…..but the detailed tutorials and the friendly attitude were very convincing. So I bought some denim fabric and jumped in to the cold water. And what can I say? Like a magic I made a skirt. A comfortable, flared wraparound skirt with detail like a bow at the front and patch pockets.

It’s not made perfect, true, but still …a skirt. And not just a skirt, but one of my favorites. I wear it at least once a week. Love.

In one of the next posts I’ll write about some other cool sewing patterns for beginners.

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Now the top. I wanted to sew Agnes top since it was published in June, but didn’t have the time. It’s a close-fitting jersey top with a few neckline and sleeve options. It’s very versatile and suitable for wearing with anything. Tilly’s instructions are always very clear and friendly, even for beginners, and if you are new to sewing with knits you can also sign up to an online video workshop that will accompany you step by step through the process of sewing your agnes top.

  Sewing with knits is a bit trickier then sewing with woven fabrics because of the stretch. This pattern is skill level is for “improvers”, but don’t lose confidence because if you don’t have any experience the coco top and dress pattern is a good way to start. I made a few Coco’s (I’ll write about it in another post).

Anyway, you don’t need a special machine for sewing with knits. A regular machine with zigzag stich is OK.

I made my Agnes with a ruched neckline. The fabric is a light viscose (a bit slippery but no big deal). Big LIKE. A few more knit fabrics are waiting now to become Agnes.