Thursday, 21 January 2016

an ongoing case of startitis

i've been encountering some major startitis lately as i near the deadline for my book knitting. i'm finishing off one garment right now, with two more garments and three accessories left between now and the end of february. totally do-able. i don't sleep much anyway. i've actually been surprisingly efficient with my knitting lately, i think because my anxiety is kept right on the edge and so i keep working on single projects furiously until they're done so i can tick them off the to-do list. of course, that doesn't stop me from dreaming about all the things i want to make post-february 29th. and by all the things, i really do mean all the things - selfish knits and sews, new mini and larger collections (the larger ones are still very fuzzy in my head, as i'm attempting to not lose too much focus yet), jewelry, bone and antler foraging, house projects...

all i want to do is go foraging with grace and find all the bones. this hair fork is just the most gorgeous thing.

i've talked a fair amount recently about wanting to add to my handmade wardrobe this year. my style shifts slightly every year or so (more often than that, but in significant enough ways to warrant new clothing each year). it's not that i completely reinvent myself each year - that was for the early years of my undergraduate degree. i think it's just a matter of what i feel most comfortable and myself in, which means some items of clothing stay with me for years while others get worn regularly for six months and then need to be donated or swapped after that for closet space. the thing about living in all the places i have is that the seasons are major. there is no "wear the same coat unless it's raining all year long", especially in the canadian prairies. summers get hot and muggy and i just don't want to wear anything at all, and then winters are cold and dry and static-y and gross. and fall is warmer and generally less wet than spring, warranting different types of layers. so a lot of clothing only has a three or four month wearing period before the weather shifts and it's not so useful anymore, and then when you pull it out nine months later, you've lost the love.

dottie angel's frock for simplicity would be the perfect multiple to have in the closet.
or so i thought.

as a textile artist and fibre nerd, i really should know by now that the type of fibre makes all the difference for clothing. linen and pure cotton don't get static-y or hot-sticky the way that man-made fibres or fibre blends do. and if you wear clothing in various levels of looseness, you can layer just about anything. i've been distracted on pinterest a lot lately by very loose silhouettes, especially in the hip area. since i'm already larger in the hips anyway, being able to either belt something around my waist or have a tighter bodice with a really loose skirt is basically the best of all worlds for me these days. i tend to have fewer layers on my lower half, so if there's a loose layer with lots of material, that means my skin can either breathe or hide from the wind, both of which are ideal. my upper body typically has three or four layers plus one to two neck layers which are easy to strip on and off. my body is terrible at regulating temperature, and i get cranky when too hot or cold (my joints stop working in both situations), so being able to de- or re-layer throughout the day is important.

i'm also distracted by thoughts of fresh ink (what else is new?). i'm really in love with the idea of getting a small ruler of dots on my finger, similar to what i've seen other knitters and sewers getting. it's so useful! i love hand tattoos and plan on getting some over the years, all related to my craft practice. my hands are one (two) of my favourite body parts, and they fascinate me. especially because i know that due to my genetics, as i age, they will change a lot and become more painful than they are now. so perhaps it's just that i'm appreciating them early because i know what's likely to come, and sooner rather than later because of the way i use them. of course, setting up a session for just a few dots is silly. i'd tack it on to another session to save money and time. i want moon phases across my upper back in black ink as my next tattoo, so maybe i'll do the two of them together at some point this year. i also want my septum pierced in the near future. so many plans...

i have shibui linen in tar for my own monochromatic faultline, maybe with antler buttons once it's done. imagine how pretty it would be with a bandeau underneath and moons across my shoulders in the summer heat...seriously, clothes in 35 degree heat are just not a thing.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

nautical nonsense

i bought this item of clothing when i lived in the uk. it has all the elements i love in clothing - leather buckles, pockets, cute femme detailing juxtaposed with some tough canvas. and believe it or not, it was actually originally long enough to be a short dress. several years of wear and washing have now shrunk it up to a hip-hitting top that is just a little too snug on the rib cage. i couldn't bring myself to part with it during a recent clothing swap though, and i have some plans for it which will maybe happen sooner rather than later.

first up, i'm going to hack the pattern so that i can make myself another one. i took a clothing hack workshop while i lived in london, and i think that the details in this are simple enough that i can do it and not be totally frustrated with it. hacking it will also allow me to make the necessary adjustments to the pattern for a new and better fit - lengthen the dress (a lot - right now it comes to the top of my hipbones), lower the armholes a bit, and add an inch or so to the bodice so it's still form-fitting but not strangling my rib cage when i try to yawn. i have no idea what fabric i'll use, but i'm thinking it will be a similar weight. probably plain. and i'm going to use the straps, hidden zipper, and the pockets from the original on the new version. maybe also the little bib detailing at the top as well, to tie in the contrast pockets. i think it'd be cute.

the fabric that will be left over once i pull it apart won't be useful for any particular new garment as a whole, but i do love the utilitarian feel of this nautical canvas. so i think it'll be perfect for little pouches and project bags! i want to make some zippered pouches to hold more knitting and sewing notions, and i also need to make myself a travel cosmetic bag because for some reason, i don't have one of those anymore. cute stripes and durable outer fabric for practical items seems like the perfect way to use up the leftovers.

so there you have it! i have no idea when i'll actually get around to doing it, of course. i would like to have the dress made for the photoshoot in march, but i think that's going to depend on how i'm doing with my knitting. i can knock off a wiksten in an evening after work, but this is more of a weekend project at my sewing speed. fingers crossed i can get something sorted. maybe i'll just steal the leather buckles for a shift dress for the photoshoot and then sort out the rest of it later...

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

drool-worthy #19 - brooklyn tweed's winter 16 collection

so it seems like i go from no drool-worthy posts for months to two back-to-back. but really, can you blame me? the latest brooklyn tweed collection is out and it is unsurprisingly full of beautiful things that i would just love to knit and wear.

this tunic by veronik avery is the absolute perfect tunic - cozy, simple, just long enough, and with loose enough sleeves to not be annoying. i don't even like turtlenecks and yet i love this one. i've actually been thinking recently about tunics within knit design, because i have a couple up my sleeve and other ideas but it just keeps coming down to would i actually want to wear that? chances are good that if i wouldn't, i just won't knit it. i have enough ideas swirling around in my head at any given time that i can afford to focus a bit (aka i will never ever get around to knitting all the things i want to knit, but a knitter can dream, right?). this manages to take multiple elements i wouldn't have thought would work for me and made me fall in love, so maybe i just need to take a leap sometimes.

this hat is just gorgeous. like, the absolute perfect stitch design. and it uses brooklyn tweed's latest yarn, the bulky quarry! i've been wanting to get my hands on some to try it out, because a) it looks beautiful and b) i always hold out this little bit of hope that i will actually enjoy knitting with bt's yarns. when i lived in london, i bought both loft and shelter, and while shelter was pretty lovely and not too much of a pain, loft made me want to tear my hair out. three different skeins in three different perfect tweedy gorgeous colours, and all three broke multiple times during project cast-ons. ughhhhhhhh. i don't even have a tight tension, nor do i hold my yarn roughly, but fuck me if it didn't break every twenty stitches or so. so now i'm gun-shy. but i desperately want to find one of their yarns that i trust enough to design with at some point, and i'm hoping that quarry will be that yarn. and then eventually figure out how to deal with loft, because a light and airy lace shawl that is also rustic and tweedy is basically the definition of my knitting fantasy. 

i'm doing a lot of cables right now, and as tedious as they can be to knit sometimes, they are just the ultimate cozy thing. and so is this sweater. oof. 

ohmygoodnessohmygoodness, lace

go check out the rest of the collection. it's actually quite colourful, i'm just really in love with neutrals. and this particular model's wardrobe. can i just borrow all of those clothes, and knits, and that ring, and that hairstyle? but with my undercut. i've had it for five years and it isn't going anywhere. 

Friday, 1 January 2016

drool-worthy #18 - "shine" by sylvia bo bilvia

happy new year! it's been ages since i've done a drool-worthy post, so how appropriate that my first post of 2016 is a drool-worthy featuring my friend sylvia's latest pattern, shine!

i've been a little up and down with my moods lately - holiday season makes me stir-crazy, full of energy, and also extra hermity all at once. i love it, but i do tend to get more of the feels than usual. and new year's eve is way worse than xmas for me. xmas is 100% family time, i know what to expect, and i don't feel any desire or pressure to be more social than i feel like being. new year's eve, on the other hand, is weird as an adult. there is strange societal pressure to go out, be surrounded by humans, get drunk and be merry, find that midnight kiss, and then wake up happy and cheery. which is actually kind of hilarious, because how many of us can actually identify a party (especially one involving alcohol, strangers and/or casual acquaintances, and expectations of making out) where some drama doesn't go down and people don't want to peace out before the evening is over? never mind the fact that i am notorious for getting tipsy quickly, sobering up even faster, and then just getting cranky and wanting to sleep, and more and more often actually feeling hung over the next morning (i don't drink that much these days). as an introvert, new year's eve is kind of the bane of my existence. and i'm ok with not wanting to go out and opting instead to have fondue at my parents' house like i did every year as a kid. but i still have this nagging sense of maybe i should try being social just this once... so i'm a little more sensitive than usual. and have been waking up a little melancholy. so yesterday, when i woke up and checked instagram and saw this super cheery lovely shawl, i was instantly happier and was reminded that my moods are just more sensitive than usual and that's all totally fine.

i've been wanting to add more selfish knits into my wardrobe, especially after spending so much of 2015 working on larger collections, and i also want to clear out more of my stash. so how perfect that this shawl, with its squishy garter and short rows and multiple cheery colours and lacy edge, should appear just in time for me to amend my handmade wardrobe goals for 2016 to add it in. i'm thinking that my trip to nova scotia will be a selfish knits trip - finish off that purl bee shirt, knit the hat design i've been planning for ages, and knit this shawl. the perfect amount of knitting for a week and a half with a couple of flying days. 

so thanks, sylvia, for cheering me up so easily, and thank you for the beautiful pattern! i can't wait to cast on. i hope you all have some selfish making plans for 2016, and that you enjoyed your new year's eve, and even if you didn't, it's just one night in a year of hundreds of nights. there are many more chances to have fun and make out and sleep and stay up until dawn and celebrate and make plans and reflect and move on.