Sunday, 16 October 2016

USED - Slow October accessories

I don't shop at thrift stores often.  Lots of reasons why, mostly that the thrift stores in my area aren't stocked with the things I'm looking for.  We have a Value Village, and a couple of small stores, but I've yet to find things I want.  I have no aversion to things that are used, or worn.  My children wear second-hand clothes all the time, and use second-hand sports equipment.  I just haven't found what I'm looking for often enough and admit I never go into thrift shops any more.

I do own a fabulous purse made from recycled seat belts:
The company that makes them is Canadian - U.S.E.D. or "Unlimited Supplies from Everyone's Discards".  I love my purse.  It has a long shoulder strap, is so durable that it still looks new a year later, and has a sturdy buckle (seatbelt buckle, of course!).  This company has links to recycle child car seats that expire every few years, and also makes tote bags from shade sail cloth.  They also make leashes for pets and other products.  The website explains how they source their material, and the philosophy behind the company based in British Columbia (they do ship world-wide!).

To me, this is the kind of product I want to look for and invest in when I'm shopping.  I won't be making all of the things I wear and use, but I can look for things that fit with a conscious spending mindset. 

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Slow Down, You Move Too Fast...

Slow October - inspired by Karen Templer at Fringe Association   The notion of slowing down and simplifying is not new, but to do this with a conscience and a deliberate effort to reduce one's impact on the environment is the focus for a lot of the discussion.  She has a link to an article about the myth of 'donating' and 'recycling' clothes.  Eye-opening and thought-provoking - go read it now!

I'm re-evaluating my wardrobe from a knitting perspective.  I have things I've knit that I never wear.  I'm going to frog, and reknit into things I will either wear or gift.  My time is extremely limited these days (Slow October will be a focus on all aspects of life here, not just my wardrobe - more on that next time), as is my clothing and knitting budget.  My goal is to look at two things this month:  what I wear and knit, and how I use my time.  The second one is not just about 'spare time' or 'making more of my down time', it's about what I say yes and no to, and what occupies my mind as much as my time.  

First up:  I've frogged this 
I knit it without a pattern, but wish I had made it more slouchy and oversized than I did.  I'm reusing the yarn to make a couple of baby sweaters for friends.  Both are Tin Can Knits patterns.  I started Flax for a friend at work. 
Next up will be Harvest, with the same yarn.  I have projects underway and plan to finish them.  They've been blogged about here in the last few months (vest, summer tee, Sambuca pullover).  I want to finish projects that are in progress, and then evaluate what I really want to do with my stash. 

In short, Slow Fashion for me doesn't mean making all of my clothes.  It means looking at why I have clothes I don't wear, and taking time to knit things I'll actually wear (or give as a thoughtful gift).  More next week as I gather my projects, finish frogging the vest, and dig deeper into the real reasons why I can't seem to slow down my mind.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

FO: October Leaves

A second cowl finished just before the Busy Season (aka: school) begins.
The pattern is Twin Leaf Loop by Alana Dakos from the book Botanical Knits.  It's a fabulous pattern, with an easy pattern repeat and bulky alpaca yarn.  It's soft, squishy, and easy to wear.  My shiny decorative mannequin models it nicely!

 Next up:  a poncho/topper for a friend's birthday that must be done by the end of September.  I'm hoping that the hectic pace and stress of school/work won't hijack my plans to have it done.  Last spring I was drowning in the deep end, trying to keep it all afloat (work, home, kids, other commitments).  This fall I am determined to start with plans to take on less, spend less, simplify, and look after the things that matter most and let the rest go.  Wish me luck!

Saturday, 27 August 2016

finally finished what I started

My Mai Tai cowl is complete.  I knit most of it while watching the Olympics, and can't wait for cooler weather so I can wear it (the only good thing about the end of summer:  wearing all my knitted things!).

I'm almost done my Twin Leaf Loop - a quick project from Botanical Knits.  Love this pattern and project and yarn.

I'm moving along slowly on my other WIPs, and am casting on a project for a friend's birthday.  Feels good to be productive again.

Friday, 5 August 2016

not a standstill, still a snail's pace

It's August.  How did that happen?  June and July blurred by in some ways, while at the same time seeming to stall.  I respond to stress by working hard when and where I must, but becoming almost distracted, unfocused and unable to finish things outside of those arenas.  Knitting became the casualty of this, and I feel like I'm just coming out of that foggy state now.

Projects have been started... but not finished.  Underway and still not done:  long vest, short "Anna" vest, summer tee with one half almost done (first photo below), poncho with colourwork (just started, colours selected in second photo below), and a recently cast-on Mai Tai cowl that I took on a plane to Mexico (final photo).

The cowl is another BabyCocktails (Thea Colman) pattern - can't go wrong with her patterns as they are all well written.  Hoping to finish this one, then go back and finish all of the unfinished things.  August looks to be less stressful, a little pocket of breathing room before the work begins the week before Labour Day (Back To School).  

Plan to finish this while I watch the Olympics.  I love the Olympics...  always reminds me of how hopeful we can be.   We will watch as much as possible, with a focus on soccer/football.  The Canadian women's team is a force to be reckoned with!  

Sunday, 22 May 2016

The finish line?

I ran a marathon once.  The finish line was at the parliament buildings in Toronto, and to finish runners had to run about 3 km up a slight steady incline.  Not a huge hill, but it certainly felt rather long and steep after running the first 40 km of the race.  More frustrating was the fact that the finish line was around the corner behind Queen's Park (the parliament building) so it couldn't be seen until runners were less than a km away.  Onlookers were shouting "almost there!", and runners who had finished were walking back along the route with warming blankets and food in hands.

But I couldn't see the finish.  Even though I knew it was there, and people were cheering me on, it might as well have been another 40 km away in my mind because it wasn't in sight.  I felt like I'd never get there.

I feel that way now.  About work - school finishes on the last day of June which feels close enough but still so far away.  It can't be seen on my calendar yet as I open it to May.  Other things seem on their way to a finish but the end is not yet close enough to be tangible.  My knitting projects are on their way and more than half done in most cases, but not close enough that I could sit and finish any one of them in a long sitting.

I feel like I did those many years ago, running at near exhaustion with an end that's "almost there" but not in my line of sight...  And so I plod along at a steady pace and hope that the end is indeed just around the corner.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

FO - Blue Devil Beanie

I finished my Blue Devil Hat - pattern by Thea Coleman of Babycocktails.  I made it more fitted like a beanie than the slouch that the pattern called for.  I like fitted hats, and was ready to shape and cast off after one full repeat of the chart.   Love the yarn - Madeline Tosh DK - and the hat is perfect for the cold mornings of spring (or fall, but who's thinking that far ahead!).