Saturday, October 24, 2015

My Slow and Mindful Fashion October

Slow Fashion October coincided with my return to blogging this fall, and therefore I can't help but to seek parallells between the two. Slow vs. Fast Fashion is an important question to me, but at the same time it's a difficult one. The working and living conditions of the workers that make our clothing are unacceptable, but since the chain of middle-men between a seamstress in Asia and me as a consumer is long, the difficult question is how to make changes that benefit the poorest and most exploited workers. If you are a Finnish reader, you might be interested in the book Tappajafarkut by Outi Moilala (sorry, it's in Finnish, but the title translates as Killer Jeans, so you get a picture of what the book is about).

So although the exploitation of garment workers is an important question to me, it's not what Slow Fashion October is about for me this year. This October, and hopefully every month from here on, I'm bringing the Mindfulness back into the Making.

I didn't intend to keep a 10 month long break from blogging, knitting and sewing, but it happened anyway. Now that my day-to-day life has settled a bit I began feeling the need to create again. But before I picked up my knitting needles and dusted off my blog, I wanted to pause for a moment and evaluate what my reasons for creating and blogging were. Sewing, knitting and blogging takes time, and I wanted to make a conscious choice that these were the things I wanted to spend my time on, as opposed to something else.

The decision to keep on creating and blogging was easy to make. Turns out this is something that I feel is a part of me, and that brings me to the core of my take on Slow Fashion October. Although spending hours and hours on a single project comes naturally to me, I'm not always good at enjoying that time to the fullest. My thoughts have a bad habit of drifting off to my next project long before the project at hand is finished. And since there always is a next project, and a next, this turns into a bad cycle where I'm always some place else in my mind.

This is where I'm going to make a change. I'm bringing Mindfulness back into the sewing and knitting and treating every moment I spend making something like an exercise in being present in the moment. So far I have only implemented this on my knitting, but I can tell you it feels great. Brain studies have showed that knitting is similar to the brain as meditating, so basically you get the benefits of meditating AND a new scarf at the same time.

This post is a long way of saying this: I'm going to concentrate on what I'm doing, relish the slow process of making something by hand and take pride in the finished project knowing how much love and care went into making it. That's what Slow Fashion is about for me.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

An Unselfish Scarf

I haven't done any knitting in the past year or so, except for finishing these socks recently. I felt like I needed a quick and painless project so that I could get my knitting mojo back, and this yarn was next in my queue.

This mystery yarn was a gift from a friend who said she wouldn't use it herself. A couple of years back I started knitting a scarf with a lot of details, but changed my mind because you couldn't see the pattern at all, all you saw was that it was brown and fluffy.

So instead of fighting the Yarn Gods I let the yarn decide what it wanted to be, and it wanted to be a fluffy garter stitch scarf knitted on large needles. Who am I to fight that?

 The scarf started out as a completely selfish project, but after a couple of days I decided it would look way better on my sister than on me, and so the scarf became unselfish mid-project.

I still have some yarn left, but it will have to wait until I finish some other projects that I'm already working on. My sister suggested that I'll knit matching leg warmers for her, and two tubes in a simple pattern sounds like just the kind of easy project that I want to knit at the moment.

How about you, do you love to knit as much as you love to sew? What kind of projects do you want to knit at the moment, easy and fast or big and challenging?

Sunday, October 11, 2015


Hi again!

I finally got around to finishing these socks, after hiding them away for almost an entire year. 

I got two skeins of this rugged wool for free when I purchased some yarn from a yarn store a couple of years ago. The feel of the yarn is so rough that it could only become socks. 

I have small feet, so I did my own math with these socks to get them to fit right. I prefer to knit socks from the toe up, so I took a pattern from a Designer Knitting magazine and copied their method of construction, substituting their gauge with the gauge of my yarn.

The socks fit great and the bluish-purple color is just a bonus!

Has anyone started knitting Christmas presents yet? I saw a pattern for a very cute hat and decided that I simply HAD to make four of them as Christmas presents this year. I made a swatch to determine gauge and to try out the pattern - and it was the.most.difficult. thing I have done for ages! I mean seriously, I had just spent four hours working on a spread sheet in Excel for school, and still that little 10x10 cm of cuteness almost broke my brain. Blocking did help, but I still might have to reconsider my Christmas presents this year, I might not be up for the challenge!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Sewing for my mom

Hello there lovelies!

Today I'm back with a finished project, just like I promised earlier this week. At that time I still had some hand sewing left to do, but it really didn't even feel like such a chore this time. A self-inflicted blog-deadline really helps me finish projects!

This is the fabric that really saved the day. This jacket has been long in the making. Originally my mom sewed the blazer together, but the fit was awful and it got tossed aside. So I volunteered to get creative with fixing everything that was wrong with it, to transfer the necessary changes to the original pattern pieces and to finish the jacket lining and all. 

The jacket did have a center back seam originally if I remember correctly, but the  shoulder darts that you can see here are extensions of additional bust darts we used to remove the extra width in the shoulder area.

This wool blend really is the best. The wool combined with the weave makes it possible to sculpt the pattern pieces into whatever your want. Most of the changes would not have been possible to make in a dense cotton for instance.

The sleeves were some kind of huge bell sleeves I think, but we slimmed them down by removing quite a bit of the extra width.

 I know I'm totally spamming you with pictures, but I just love this fabric so much!

The blazer will be worn open and it doesn't have any buttons at all (that's the reason behind the needles showing in the pictures, the blazer just looked better on my mannequin closed).

In the picture above you can see one of the changes we made. That dart is not supposed to be there, but the upper chest and shoulder area was HUGE, so we made a pleat that you can't even see when the collar is down like it's supposed to be. 

And some pictures from the inside, just because everything is so pretty and neat! An exception to that neatness is of course the small pleat I had to make in the corner where the lining and the facing meet. I probably made some mistake when I drafted the pattern pieces for the lining, since they were not included in the pattern.

So what do you think, did the extra darts ruin the blazer? Has anyone else fallen in love with wool because it's so forgiving? Doesn't it feel great to finish an UFO?