I’ve had it pointed out to me that I haven’t done a dog post in a while. Those comments were well timed because I went to visit my parents recently, and I’m happily able to put one together!
It’s been a long time since I posted about the dogs so I’ll give them a brief introduction. The springer spaniel is my dad’s dog Henry. Bean is my corgi, but she lives with my parents. And, in the bonus video, we have my sister’s terrier Bjorn. He loves to sing little songs, and Bean gets a bit jealous.
Friday’s post on green yarn got me thinking about my struggles with knitting things I’ll actually wear. When I first started knitting, I’d pick any old project and choose any old yarn that struck my fancy. I’ve been working slowly to get better at picking my projects and yarn deliberately so I’m building a wardrobe and collection of accessories that I’ll actually use and wear, but it has taken some time to rethink my approach to picking projects.
The biggest issue with my old approach was how I chose colors. In my early days of knitting, I enjoyed the cozy, Hobbit-y feelings I associated with knitting. I knit my first scarf while watching Lord of the Rings, and you can see that in my color choices. I picked a lot of deep, rich yarn colors. They just looked right to me in the skein, and I have to say that they still do. As my interest expanded, I continued to pick those colors. My logic was that knitting takes a long time so I should knit in sophisticated colors that I would want to wear even when I was older.
The only problem? I didn’t wear those colors. I still don’t wear those colors very often. I wear red, orange and yellow; above are my three most-worn sweaters. It’s become a running joke in my office that if we’re choosing colors for something, like stickers to flag pictures we like when assemble mood boards, I automatically get handed the orange stickers without being asked. I like loud flashy colors, and I wear loud flashy colors. You would think that would make yarn shopping easy for me, that I would automatically be drawn to those colors in yarn form, but that’s usually not the case. If I were to pick a sweater, I would choose the bright flashy shade. But as a ball of yarn? The deeper jewel tones would catch my eye first.
That makes impulse shopping difficult, and I’ve had to train myself to pick colors that go with my wardrobe. Frequently that means that I choose the color I’m looking for before I ever set foot into the yarn store. Hiding in my wardrobe, I already have a huge collection of colors that flatter me that I’m confident I’ll actually wear so it’s my best resource for choosing yarn colors. I try to look at my wardrobe and evaluate what colors I’d like to wear more or find complementary colors that are missing. With that information, I can go off to buy yarn, confident that I’m on the right track. I once brought a shoe into my local yarn store to find yarn that matched it to knit my cardigan that’s above, and I wear the one below all of the time because that shade of blue goes well with orange. It took me months to find the perfect mint green that I knew would go with some of my floral dresses, but this system works well for me. Figuring out what is missing from my wardrobe or simply what would complement the colors already in it has been key in building a collection of knits that I actually wear.
Do you wear your knits as often as you would like? How do you pick out colors to use? Are you attracted to the same yarn colors as clothing colors?
Every so often, someone asks me about my sweaters and replies with “You made that yourself? I thought you bought it! It doesn’t even look homemade.” I know the person means that as a compliment, so I politely say thank you and move on, but inside, I wince. Mass produced, store bought clothing are held up to be the best while handmade clothing is typically looked at as being inferior. Many people believe that the end goal of knitters, crocheters and sewists is to make something that’s as good as the store bought equivalent. When I think about it, that’s understandable. The average person is most familiar with store bought clothing and doesn’t know the virtues of handmade.
What really makes me cringe is when I hear that comment coming out of the mouths of crafters. Have some pride in what you’re capable of! Handmade can be so much better than anything you find in stores. Makers have time and the capability to add so many small details that just aren’t profitable or possible with factory equipment. You can custom fit your garments. You can add time consuming details or hand stitch the perfect hem. You can choose the best combination of materials and create something unique. All of these things add up to why I love being able to make my own clothing. Sure, right now I don’t have the skills to insert a zipper perfectly, but I aspire to do it like a talented sewist, not a factory machine.
This post is really just a jumbled mess of thoughts, and I didn’t have a real direction with it, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on handmade. Do you aspire to have your work be unrecognizable as handmade? What does handmade mean to you?
Last weekend was the Madrona Fiber Arts Retreat in Tacoma. Surprisingly, I never went when I was in college and only live a few miles away from the retreat, but this year I decided to go and do a little shopping. I didn’t let myself go too crazy because I was meeting up with my college friends for dinner afterward, but I did find some amazing stuff.
After giving up on my hunt for the perfect mint green worsted weight wool, I didn’t expect to see the yarn of my dreams at Madrona. I’m really excited about this Sincere Sheep yarn, but now I don’t know what to do with it! The original plan was the make a heavy winter pullover in mint green, but it took me so long to find the right yarn that we don’t really have heavy-winter-pullover weather anymore! I’m half tempted to put it in my stash and wait for fall to knit the sweater I have in mind, but I’m also dying to try working with this yarn because Sincere Sheep has so many different colors that I love. I want to see what it’s like knitted up before I buy more.
I also bought a few sets of buttons from Jennie the Potter. I loved everything in her booth, and I’m always bemoaning how pathetic my button stash is so I treated myself to a few sets. I love the way the green ones manage to look both like stockinette and reptile skin, and of course the orange ones had to come home with me. The blue ones are a bit more subtle, and I think they’ll be the first set to get used because they go with everything.
I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions, but last year I had a few goals for myself:
1. Graduate College 2. Get a Job 3. Don’t Move Home 4. Knit More Sweaters 5. Write More Patterns
I managed to accomplish 1-4 quite successfully. The first three are kind of a big deal, and I’m pretty proud of them, but they kind of interfered with my pattern writing so I didn’t do as well as I would have liked with #5. I’m totally okay with that, but in 2013, I’d like to revisit those two.
I don’t have any lofty goals for this year. I have much simpler plans:
1. Knit More Sweaters — You can never have too many. 2. Sew More — I’m finally living under the same roof as my sewing machine, and I’d like to get better at sewing. 3. Knit Some Slipper Socks — This seems pretty random, but I lost all of my store-bought slipper socks when I moved! 4. Figure Out How To Take Decent Photos In My Apartment — I’ve been working on this awhile, but I can’t get it figured out. I’ve been thinking about buying studio lights. 5. Publish More Patterns — I get patterns written, but the actual publishing stuff like photography and editing is where I’ve been dragging my feet. I might need to cut back on the self publishing and focus more on submitting to publications.
Today is my 23rd birthday, and I treated myself to some yarn to make myself a new winter hat. I’ve put myself on a selfish-yarn diet so I’ve been trying to not buy yarn for projects for myself because I need to use up more of my stash and/or focus on Christmas knits, but it’s my birthday!
The fluffy ball is Plymouth Yarn Baby Alpaca Brush. It’s soooo soft and wonderful. One of my favorite winter hats is made from this yarn, but it doesn’t stay on my head very well now that I have longer hair. The hank in the back is simply Cascade 220. My plan is to do a stranded hat that’s mostly wool with delightfully warm, soft floats of alpaca all over the inside. In my head, this should work our brilliantly.
There was a raffle at Knit Fit, and I won a sweater’s worth of yarn! It’s Skacel’s Alpaca Seta which is an alpaca, silk, and nylon blend. It’s too drapey for any of the ideas I have in my sketch book, but I’ve already come up with a few new ideas.
I’m thinking of making a full length pullover that’s fitted through the bust and underbust and is loose through the waist and hips. In my head it would look best with 3/4 length sleeves, but I’m not sure if that will be practical because it’s going to be a very warm sweater, and I rarely want my lower arms exposed when it’s very cold out. The yarn is pretty busy looking so I think the sweater will probably be fairly plain. I might add a detail like a keyhole back to add some interest without fighting with the yarn. We’ll see what happens. I have to finish my Christmas knitting and my blue and red sweater before I dive into this.
Happy Halloween everyone! I saved the worst for last. Without a doubt, this is the worst vampire movie I have ever seen. It’s worse than Blacula. It’s worse than the Lost Boys sequel. It’s worse than everything I’ve mentioned during this month of horror movies.
The movie is a bizarre, futuristic, continuation of the Dracula story. It takes place on a space ship in the year 3000. Before the movie starts, Dracula and his children try to escape the sun by going into space, but they end up stranded after they eat everyone on the spaceship. Our intrepid heroes are rude, crude salvagers who happen to find the ship floating in space. If you think the premise sounds bad, that’s just the tip of the iceberg of awfulness. The movie is super low budget with bad acting, bad dialogue and ridiculous special effects. There’s a twist ending involving a sex robot. I can’t even come close to describing how awful it is. It’s kind of amazing.
The elusive Blood and Donuts! Early on in my vampire movie collecting days, my friend and I were looking at lists of bad vampire movies online, and one of them mentioned Blood and Donuts. As avid donut lovers, the title stuck out to us, and we had to have it. The description said it was about a vampire who hung out in a 24 hour donut shop. It sounded perfect. Unfortunately we couldn’t find it anywhere. Every time we saw DVDs for sale we would look for the movie. After a year or two we were less optimistic that we would find it, but it’s elusiveness made it even more appealing. Then last winter I found it on Amazon.com, and we finally got to watch it.
Blood and Donuts is a really weird take on the lovesick, romantic vampire. While the movie is technically a horror-comedy there are some scenes that are so earnestly bad that it’s hard to tell if they’re intentionally funny or just accidentally. The plot and pacing are pretty bizarre, but there are a few things I like about this movie.
It points out how ridiculous vampire and human romances are. The main character wakes up from sleeping a few decades, and his former flame has aged quite a bit. He’s lost interest now that she’s old, but she’s still obsessed with him. It was great to see that played out in a vampire movie. Blood and Donuts also has some really funny one-liners. I’m glad I finally got a chance to watch this movie.