Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Bird Sanctuary + Slow Fashion IV

This is another belated Slow Fashion October post, as my weekend was full up with visiting a bird sanctuary, working on a new hat design, choir, brunch, and other pleasant-but-tiring things.

The Serendip Sanctuary was amazing, by the way - very chilled out and quiet (except for the birds), so we were able to take our time wandering around and noticing the more camouflaged wildlife. A lengthy discussion occurred over whether a particular brown shape was a bird, lizard, or stick. It turned out to be a napping tawny frogmouth!

Wetland with birds (click to enlarge, and spot the emus in the distance!)

A tawny frogmouth staring us down

Slow Fashion October prompt:
Week 4, October 19-25: WORN
second-hand / mending / caring for things / laundering for longevity / design for longevity (bucking trends, quality materials …) / heirlooms

This one's very timely for me, as I've been getting my outfit ready for my brother's wedding this Saturday (yay Jeff!). As usual, I'll be wearing several second-hand pieces - my blouse, jacket, shoes, and jewellery.

I have a glass-bead necklace which I inherited from my Nana, which I've worn on fancy-dress-up occasions before, like choir concerts. It's always been a little too short for me, and the clasp was quite tarnished, so I decided to re-string it for this occasion.



I struggled a bit with knotting the silk thread and securing the ends tidily, but the clasp will be hidden by my hair anyway so I think it's fine.

I also have more mending to do today, if I have time - I'd like to replace the buttons on a black silk shirt so I can wear it to dinner on Friday. We'll be staying at a posh Art Deco hotel in Napier, which I'm looking forward to!

I'll be staying on after the wedding festivities, relaxing at Mum & Dad's and doing lots of sewing and knitting. Can't wait. :)

Monday, October 19, 2015

Slow Fashion III

This week's prompt:
Week 3, October 12-18: LOVED
proudest accomplishment / most loved item / most frequently worn item / thing you saved up for / investment pieces / thing you worked a long time on / oldest thing that’s still in rotation

My most frequently worn hand-knit garment is definitely my Blank Canvas jersey. I knit it back in 2013, and in winter I wear it a few times a week.
It's very soft and comforting (the yarn is a DK-weight cashmere from Colourmart), and the three-quarter sleeves are very practical since I'm generally doing stuff with my hands all day. Its simple design and plain dark brown colour make it a perfect wardrobe staple.

Me, my jersey, and my ride (October 2013)

In fact, I'm so happy with this jersey that I'm planning to knit the same pattern again! This time I'll use a 'busier' yarn, since this pattern can take it.

I ordered five skeins of Longrider DK in 'River Water' from Madelinetosh's recent sale, and the parcel arrived this morning (to much excitement). This yarn is a squishy, soft merino with 25% nylon for durability. I want this jersey to last a long time!

Don't you just love the speckles? 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

New pattern: Above the Clouds

My latest pattern is a cosy scarf that's been in the works for quite a while.
I had the idea to design a soft textured scarf while looking out the window of an airplane, admiring the shapes of the clouds below. After much swatching, refining, finding the perfect yarn, and knitting, I finally have my scarf! This is Above the Clouds, a worsted-weight wintery scarf with cloudlike texture...

  • knit-and-purl texture based on garter stitch and double moss stitch
  • completely reversible - identical on both sides
  • worsted-weight polwarth/alpaca/possum yarn for warmth
  • unisex style with adjustable length, to suit the wearer's height
  • long-tail cast on + simple knitted bind off
  • both charted and written instructions. 

For my nice long scarf I used 3 balls of Outlaw Yarn's Bohemia Worsted
(a blend of 45% polwarth, 45% alpaca, and 10% possum) in the colour 'Fog', which is a pale silvery grey. The possum and alpaca in the mix give Bohemia a slight fuzzy halo, but still leave stitch patterns well defined.

'Above the Clouds' is available to download as a pdf from Ravelry, Loveknitting, Craftsy, or Etsy.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Birthday Sale + Slow Fashion II

I'm having a pattern sale in my Ravelry store! On October 13th, all of my individual self-published patterns will be 20% off. Just use the code BDAYSALE20 at the Ravelry checkout.

I'm not sure yet how we'll be celebrating, but I'm leaning towards fish and chips at the beach. :)


Now on to Slow Fashion October... this week I've been focusing on the 'handmade' part of the prompt:
Week 2, October 5-11: SMALL
handmade / living with less / quality over quantity / capsule wardrobe / indie fashion / small-batch makers / sustainability

I desperately need more lightweight, breezy summer tops, preferably sleeveless or with very short sleeves. Tshirts just don't cut it for an Australian summer! I also want to sew at least one long lightweight skirt with an elastic waist for maximum comfort.

I've been doing lots of research, and even ordering some supplies. I've gotten as far as ordering some fabric, and I've found a few indie patterns for the kinds of tops I want to wear: simple, fuss-free, and beginner-level (especially as I haven't sewn from patterns before). I'm most excited about Sew DIY's Lou Box Top, which includes different options for the neckline and hem. I also ordered a copy of Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns, which looks amazing.

I'm also hoping to replicate my home-made dinosaur top in a lighter fabric. I sewed the original three years ago and I still wear it regularly! It's held up to wear and washing a lot better than my shop-bought tshirts, which usually end up out-of-shape and shabby after a year or two - hooray for handmade. :)

Dino top + crochet-in-progress (Feb 2014)

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Slow Fashion I

I'm a little late with this post, but here it is - my intro post for Slow Fashion October! The month has barely started, and there are already a lot of great conversations happening in the knitting/sewing/crafting world. Bristol Ivy's Instagram post (plus its comments) on affordable, inclusive slow fashion is a thought-provoking example.

 And so, on to this week's prompt:
“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?

I've been doing slow fashion for a long time. A fair proportion of my clothes and shoes are second-hand, and a few things are home-made by me. I struggle to find well-made natural-fibre clothes that are affordable, but I tend to have better luck in second-hand shops than elsewhere. I also have an odd-shaped body (with my sway back and total lack of hips), so making/altering my own clothes is often necessary for getting a good fit.

Of course, sewing and op-shop hunting can take a lot of time (that's the 'slow' part), and it can get frustrating if I can't find a very particular item which I need, and don't have the skills to make it.

My slow fashion skills are knitting (very confident), sewing (trial-and-error style), crochet (moderately confident), and spinning and dyeing (beginner-ish). This month I hope to make progress with a few projects, learn more about sustainable fabric dyeing, and get lots of ideas and inspiration from other participants. These are my plans...


I'm trying to make more time to knit garments for myself, as I have a lot of must-make items in my queue. Lately I've been setting aside weekends as no-work-knitting time, which has been really refreshing. It's nice to knit from other people's patterns again! I've made lots of progress on my Royally Striped cardie, and I now have just the borders to go.

Here's a progress pic (not modelled, as it's 35 degrees and I am not putting on a woolly cardie):

Clockwise from top left: the lower back, the upper back, a sleeve, and a side.


Now that I have my own copy of Eco Colour, India Flint's amazing book on sustainable natural dyeing, I plan to embark on some more dyeing experiments. I've ordered a trio of lightweight ethically-produced wraps from Beautiful Silks - an unbleached linen wrap (to use as a sarong/scarf), an Australian merino wrap (for cooler weather), and a linen/silk blend scarf.


I also have plans to sew a few simple summer clothes when I'm in Whakatane next month and can use Mum's sewing machine. I'm thinking a long, light skirt and a breezy top or two, as I really need some more warm-weather options. The sewing part will be in November, but I'll do some planning and fabric buying in advance.

That's all for now! If you use Instagram, do check out the #slowfashionoctober posts. <3