Fashion Revolution Week & Integrity

I’ve been an ardent admirer of creative mending for many years, and I love to follow the #visiblemending hashtag.  As I was perusing some recent posts, I noticed that a lot of them were all talking about #fashionrevolutionweek, so I clicked on the hashtag and was transported to post after post discussing the need for higher standards in the fashion manufacturing industry, such as safer conditions and basic rights for garment construction workers, and a deeper commitment to sustainable and environmentally-friendlier practices on behalf of clothing manufacturers and distributors.  All the #visiblemending posts were popping up as an example of consumers taking personal responsibility to not add to the growing problem of overflowing landfills of clothing–if you mend torn clothing instead of throwing it away, it 1.) Doesn’t add to landfills, and 2.) Means you’re not buying more clothing.

I’ve been watching this fashion revolution/slow fashion movement for a couple of years now, first inspired by the thought-provoking writing of Karen Templer over at Fringe Association, and furthered by my quilterly instincts to always find extra uses for fabric after its first life as a piece of clothing and curiosity about how people manage to live “like that,” meaning “sewing their own clothes.”  “Where do they find the time?” “Is it truly cheaper?” (Anyone who quilts and/or knits can understand where I’m coming from, am I right?!?!)

My best friend sews a lot of her own clothes and is always stomping me in finish times when it comes to garments vs. quilts, which has been doing a lot to change my opinion about whether sewing clothes is the huge time commitment I once thought it was, and I’ve also knit a few sweaters in my day and have come to realize that they’re also not a huge deal-breaker, time-wise.  But to truly commit to a DIY wardrobe…truthfully, it sounds a little too minimalistic-yuppy/I-only-eat-organic/pumpkin-spice-hipster for me.  No thanks.  I’m a fan of science and don’t feel guilty about the technological advances we’ve made in many areas that allows so many of us to live better lives beyond what our ancestors could even dream.  This isn’t Little House on the Prairie–women today are so liberated to not have to worry about sewing up their families’ wardrobes, and enjoying that extra time that’s not tied up in sewing is downrightfabulous.  Not going to feel guilty about that, either.

But then I saw this post:

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Image via Instagram @ecologiqfashion

…and I literally gasped aloud as my heart did a slow-clap standing ovation.

So often, when you hear about sweatshops (which I first became aware of in the ninth grade) and the wish for better working conditions for overseas workers and the need to Buy American (because I live in the USA), people will say something like, “But just think of those factory workers overseas and how us buying those cheaply-made goods allows them to have a job and earn money!”  Followed by a proverbial pat on the back for helping out those impoverished, third-world workers that would probably starve and just die in the street were it not for wages they earn making near see-through t-shirts of inferior quality that end up with holes at the belly button after three wearings so you’ll have to buy MORE of them.

But with the age of internet and instant access to what’s going around the world, we are privy to the knowledge that conditions in those factories are downright scary, and very exploitive.  That horrible factory collapse in Bangladesh back in 2013 (read: FIVE YEARS AGO) that KILLED 1,134 people and seriously injured 2,500 more?  Nothing has been done to help the survivors’ families.  I am not the kind of person who can brush aside the idea that my easiness of living comes at the expense of another human’s fundamental rights.  Crap wages, unsafe working conditions, environmental irresponsibility…by purchasing, and thereby supporting, a company’s product, when that company engages in this type of behavior, that is the same thing as me shaking their hand and saying, “Yes, I agree with what you’re doing.”  Each of us votes with our dollars.

And, simply put, I don’t agree.  I’ve never thought it was OK to take advantage of other people simply because you can, either because they don’t know any better or because you’ve found a loophole that lets you get away with it legally.  It’s disgusting and completely devoid of the basic code of existence that I think human beings need to live by.  I’m not going to do that to other people simply because I lucked out with the golden egg of opportunity that was “being born in North America.”

Does that mean I need to start making all of my own family’s clothes?  Not necessarily–there are options to buy ethical clothing, which means that the clothes are created by workers who are paid decent wages, and given safe places to work, from ethical materials that were responsibly produced and dyed.  The big difference in going this route is cost.  Paying a worker a livable wage means that their end product is going to cost the consumer more money.  Using responsible, quality materials that won’t fall apart after a year costs more money, too.  (Us crafty types already know about this particular point in the form of wool vs. acrylic, and big box store fabric vs. quilting shop cottons–you do get what you pay for.)  But I am a stay-at-home mama to four; making our clothing is going to be a far more economical route for me than purchasing it at fair value.

In the wake of all this paradigm-shifting, I have a bright moment of joy to share with you: Our family was talking about this issue over breakfast the other day, and I shared the “You can’t exploit women in one country to empower them in another” quote with them, which led to explaining how the clothing industry works, and what it means to look the other way and ignore when bad things are happening.  I used the word “integrity” to explain what I meant, and noticed that my fourteen-year-old daughter perked up when I said that word.  Towards the end of our discussion she said, “I think learning to sew my own clothes would make a good ‘Integrity’ value project, don’t you?” and in that moment I wanted to cry from happiness because this girl gets it.  In a world where teenagers (especially white, middle-classed teenagers, such as my daughter) are painted as screen-addicted, entitled brats, this girl empathized with a less-advantaged girl somewhere else in the world and thought of something that she herself could do, at the cost of her own time and effort, to hopefully lessen that negative impact.  I wasn’t that compassionate at fourteen, so I’m proud of her heart.

There is so much more to say on this topic, but for now, this is enough:  Things are going to change around here, and it’s going to take me a little while to figure out exactly what that means.

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My “New & Improved” Plan for Battling UFOs and Scraps

Last year I came up with a plan that would allow me to work through more UFOs, whittle down the overflowing scrap baskets in my craft room, and allow me to work, guilt-free, on some new projects.  In the past, I always start the new year with grandiose plans to blast through all of my UFOs, and the white-knuckle willpower would only last about six weeks because the textile world is constantly releasing new fabric, yarn, and pattern collections.  So, I came up with this project rotation:

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The Original Project Schedule

And it worked really well for about six months until I discovered a glitch with my system–I never chose fabric from my stash when it came around to make a “new” project, choosing instead to use new fabric from a new collection that excited me.  The stash was starting to grow faster than normal, and I had this weird reluctance to cut into any of it because it was dear to me.  You don’t buy fabric or yarn with no plan unless you’re really in love, which makes it hard to use said fabric or yarn.  But, as a wise homeschooling parent told me about art lessons with my kids, “Art supplies is meant to be consumed, not conserved.”  The same is true of fabric and yarn.  USE THEM.

Plus, I’ve been noticing a lot of my contemporaries breaking into the pattern market, and they are killin’ it, which made me start wondering if perhaps I should start at least trying to write my own patterns for my use?  I know how patterns work by this point in my creative “career,” and the challenge involved excited me as well.

And then we did some charity blocks in quilt guild and it just made me feel good to make those.

So my project rotation schedule needed a few tweaks:

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And it’s been working WONDERFULLY.  I love the challenge of coming up with my own patterns, and I really love the idea of #everytenthproject being a service project–it’s like paying tithing on my creative abilities, for which I am so grateful to possess.

I kept a spreadsheet detailing my projects for last year, and it really helped me with my stash management and with branching out of my comfort zone:

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(It also alerted me to the fact that I tend to only knit with new yarn, which led to the decision to stop stashing yarn completely…because once it goes into the stash, chances are high that I’ll not be interested in using it EVER after that.  Interesting.)

It worked extremely well until I started sewing again for Fat Quarter Shop–by the very nature of those projects, they are always “new” fabric projects, which very quickly started eating up the next available “new” slots in my plan.  I’ll have to watch out for that this year, and possibly come up with a plan to accommodate those projects–the turnaround time on them is tight, so it’s not possible to actually have a “plan” to include those projects into my schedule.  I might leave them out of the “rotation” altogether, actually, and just enjoy the ride when I’m asked to ride along…because, duh.

Oh, another important note: Babies and weddings don’t have to follow the schedule because they are also impossible to plan around.  I just plug them into the spreadsheet where they belong and then work around them as necessary because I LOVE BABIES AND WEDDINGS.  I’m a gift-crafter at my core.

What I find, though, is that this schedule greatly reduces the chances of acquiring more UFOs.  I’m horrendously distracted by the new-and-shiny, but when I’d start thinking about cutting for or casting on a new project, I’d consult my spreadsheet and see if it could fit into the next category up for grabs.  If it didn’t, I’d tentatively schedule it; but more often than not, when I came up to its turn in the rotation, my excitement for the new pattern would have waned and I could move on to something that had been on my bucket list and would truly bring me pleasure.  I started 2017 with thirty-eight UFOs, finished (or donated or frogged) nine UFOs, and am taking in two new UFOs–that means I now have thirty-one UFOs, which is totally an improvement!  I have never ended a year with less UFOs than I had at the beginning of it.  Feels good.

And now it’s onwards to a productive 2018!  Happy New Year, and may you find a little time each day to move forward on your projects.

clementine-qal-e1504126058289And if you’re looking for an idea for a service project, maybe you want to consider joining Fat Quarter Shop’s Clementine Quilt Along?  I’ve committed to it, and it would be lots of fun to have some more friends quilting along, too!

You can find more information about the Quilt Along by clicking here to visit the Fat Quarter Shop Blog.  Proceeds from this quilt along will benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

 

Tweedy Lil’ Pumpkin Hat #2

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With the birth of my stepsister’s baby, I went into baby knitting mode.  One of the items I decided to include in the “Welcome Baby” package was one of my Tweedy Lil’ Pumpkin hats, size “newborn.”  I wrote up this pattern four years ago when I wanted to make my nephew a cute autumn-themed hat.  I haven’t made another since, mostly due to the lack of babies being born into our family, but also because I got wrapped up learning to make quilts and I’ve been doing lots of baby quilts instead of baby knits–but after spending almost all of 2016 making baby quilts, I decided to take a break from those this year.  Voila, back to baby knitting.

 

I love this pattern so much because it’s got classic, basic cables that always look good, and the yarn is DK-weight, which I prefer for baby hats because it’s just a tad less bulky, but doesn’t sacrifice on warmth.

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I went with two different colors this time with this Tweedy Lil’ Pumpkin Hat, the lighter orange and darker green available in Rowan Felted Tweed.  I now have scraps from both hats that I think will knit up nicely in a striped pattern next time there’s another beebs making a debut into the fam.

If you’d like to make a Tweedy Lil’ Pumpkin Hat yourself, the pattern is for sale on Ravelry.  I recently increased the price of the pattern, but you can get it for the original price of $2.50 until October 10th, 2017 with the promo code “babyknitting” (without the quotation marks).

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Happy knitting!

 

Finished: The Amethyst Fair Isle Sweater

It’s been finished for a couple of weeks, but it’s also birthday season here in Brooketopia, so I’ve just been too busy for blogging while finishing up birthday presents and the inevitable Valentine’s Day stuff that moms of school-aged kids deal with.

But, yes, the big purple sweater is complete, she loves it, and I thought I’d share some more photos of it outside of Instagram.

I loved sketching out the fair isle designs, my cat got in the way constantly, and the long expanse of purple body knitting was something I really enjoyed–so mindless and soothing.

But the best part, ALWAYS, of knitting fair isle anythings is the actual fair isle knitting.  People, I had a fabulous January, even in spite of a really mean chest cold that I caught from my kids.  Who cares if you’re sick and can barely breathe when you can just weather it out in bed watching Netflix and knitting away on a big, beautiful bunch of colors?!?!  Best bout of sickness EVAH.

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I had the goal of finishing it up before my girl’s birthday at the beginning of February, and I’m pleased to say that it was blocked by her birthday, but still needed its underarm seams and end-weaving, so not completely finished, but definitely finished enough!

I got those last bits out of the way over the next few days, and she was able to wear it to church the following Sunday.

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Yes, I’m monstrously pleased with how it turned out.  I did a little bit of shaping in the waist, and the fit was just so good!  Pre-blocking, the neck was really wonky and caused me a great deal of worry, so I blocked it rather aggressively and the photo shows that it turned out just fine.

I haven’t done a whole lot of knitting in the past few years, so this was a bit of a crazy undertaking, but I’m so glad I went through with it–it’s very beautiful, and I got a bit of a “Heck yeah, I can still do this!” ego boost from it, ha ha.

I don’t really see any knitting in my immediate crafty future, but I’m sure the bug will bite again come autumn and its chilly air.  I heart fair isle knitting so much!

A Snowstorm Can’t Even Halt This Sweater’s Progress

During my post-surgery bedrest in November and December, I found myself with no project to work on, so I whipped up a couple of Fair Isle hats for two of my kids as last-minute Christmas presents, but that only took three days and then I was once again project-less.  After a little stash-diving, I came across a sweater’s worth of purple yarn that spoke to me.

Unfortunately, I’m kind of done with purple.  I really, really loved it for a long time–my wedding colors were periwinkle and amethyst, I almost named my first daughter Amethyst because that’s her birthstone and I thought I could call her “Amy” for short, and I’ve painted my great room a beautiful shade of periwinkle.  But about six months ago, I just started to dislike the color.

So, we’re scheduled to re-paint the great room this summer, and I needed a way to use up that sweater’s worth of purple yarn in such a way that would result in me NOT wearing it.  I asked my oldest daughter if she wanted me to knit her a purple sweater, and she enthusiastically accepted the offer.

So I’m knitting her a purple colorwork-yoked sweater, which is also a little nod to our Icelandic heritage.  The timing has been spectacular; I’ve had some bad back days, and I have now caught the cold that kept my son home from school this entire last week.  I am flying through the knitting because I’m stuck in bed with nothing to do and the cold medicine makes my brain all fuzzy, so planning, letter-writing, managing finances, and the like are out.  Knit, knit, knit.

I finally got through all the mindless purple knitting and started on THE BEST PART: the colorwork yoke.  I originally got into knitting for the Fair Isle sweaters–colorwork is my FAVORITE thing about knitting.  Mmmm, colorwork.  Love, love, love it.

201701211957782402Row #3 of my colorwork chart introduced green.  I started knitting with a green yarn from my stash, and wasn’t really loving it, but hey, stash-busting!  I kept knitting.

Row #4…I’m not sure if this green is a good idea.  Nah, it’ll be fine.

Middle of Row #4…you know, I’m starting to actively dislike this green.

3/4 of Row #4:  No.  I am not putting all of this effort into a HANDKNIT sweater only to regret the color of yarn I used because I was trying to “make do.”  This is 2017, I don’t live in a little house on the prairie, I don’t knit with yarn I made from my own sheep flock, I am allowed to JUST ORDER THE COLOR OF YARN THAT I WANT TO USE.

What I was using was a forest green yarn from my stash, but when I colored my colorwork charts, I didn’t have a forest green-colored pencil crayon, so I used an emerald-colored pencil crayon…and man, did I like my colorwork chart with the emerald-colored squares.

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Also, the forest green yarn just simply lacked contrast with the purple yarn it was paired with, which does make for a good colorwork design.  So I ordered some emerald-colored yarn.  (Well, I ordered two skeins of different emerald-colored yarns…just to be sure I had what I wanted.)

And three days later I still had not received a shipping confirmation email.  The sweater sits in its little IKEA rolling cart next to my bed, staring at me in its incomplete state while I resign myself to yet another day of mindless NetFlix viewing without the bonus of being productive because I can’t knit on the sweater because I don’t have the right green yarn.  Yes, I’m recuperating, but it feels like a completely waste of precious time that you get so much of before you die.  (For those of you who are new around here, I HATE, yes, hate, wasting time.  I don’t “do nothing,” even if I’m sick or injured.  It just feels…wrong.  Hence my love of handwork…even if you’re sick or injured you can be productive.  And also reading, reading is good, but only if you’re not taking cold medicine that makes you all fuzzy in the brain.)

I force myself to get out of bed once an hour and walk around the house so I can hopefully avoid back spasms from too much laying in bed while I’m sick.  I talk to my family, take medicine, get a drink of water…you know, break up the monotony a little bit.

Apparently I’ve been worrying out loud whilst strolling about my home; worrying out loud about my green yarn not being right, and then worrying out loud that my “right” green yarn hasn’t shipped.  I vaguely realize that this is a not a big problem in comparison to keeping our home running while I’m once again stuck in bed, but it’s on my mind and the cold medicine lowers my inhibitions, so I ramble about the things that flit around in my brain.

My husband got a phone call from work this Saturday morning–the facilities manager needed to use the snow plow to deal with the snowstorm that rolled in this morning (a SNOWSTORM, people!  PERFECT knitting weather!), but the keys to the snowplow were in a different building across town, and no one had keys to get into that building except my husband.  So he set out to solve the problem.

An hour later he phoned, presumably to let me know that he was coming home (I’m an anxious soul that likes to know where my people are and what they’re doing), but instead of telling me he was heading home, he asked if I needed him to run any errands while he was already in town.  I said that I didn’t need anything, and to drive safe because the roads were pretty bad with the ongoing snowfall.

“You sure about that?” he said, “Because I’m already in town, and the yarn shop is nearby…”

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My husband is a sexy, sexy man who voluntarily does yarn runs for me in a snowstorm.  Mmm.

And now for undoing two rows of three hundred stitches and starting over with the right green…

…and I’ll need to figure out what to do with those two skeins of emerald-colored yarn that will be making their way to me shortly.  Thoughts?

 

Bed Rest, Weeks 1-3

Sooooo…

…had some surgery in November, which wasn’t supposed to take that long to recover from, but then, at the one-week follow-up appointment, my doctor broke the news that I needed to stay in bed for another five weeks.  So I went from expecting one week of lying around to SIX WEEKS.  DURING THE HOLIDAYS.

The six-week follow-up appointment happens during the week before Christmas, so I’m pretty much stuck in bed, drooling over all the gorgeous Instagram posts of beautiful Christmas quilts and lamenting that I can’t finish all the stuff that I promised myself that I was going to finally finish up this year.  2016 has not been a banner year for me, people.

BUT…I do not want to be one of those people who mopes about and whines about their difficulties, so that has meant trying to stay “busy” despite the bed rest.

Week #1:

I spent the days leading up to my surgery frantically finishing up a quilt to the point where I’d only have the hand stitching of the binding left to do.  During my first week post-op, I finished hand stitching the binding.  Then I designed some alterations for a dress I own that’s too short on me, and, inspired by the idea of sewing clothing, I read Couture Sewing Techniques, which then had me researching Christian Dior-everything for a few days.

Week #2:

After receiving the very unexpected news of another five weeks of bed rest, I panicked and decided to start a Christmas EPP quilt, but after finishing two of the blocks I realized that I didn’t actually want to make it and abandoned it.  I’ll keep the blocks for something else in the future.

Then I decided that the quilt label for the quilt I’d just finished binding could use a little extra pizazz, so I opted to embroider parts of it, which took the rest of the week and little of the next.  (There is a lot of napping happening during my day.)

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I also read The Art of Manipulating Fabric, and Draping: The Complete Course.  I’m seeing some garment construction in my future, and I’m excited.  I have three daughters who are about to embark upon their teenage years, and I’ve always thought that one of the funnest parts of having girls would be making their party and dance dresses, and it’s always good to practice a skill before you actually *need* it, so maybe next year will see me venture into that arena a bit.

Week #3:

Thanksgiving, which had to be delegated to my kids and they did a pretty great job of it.  A friend from my quilt guild saw my SOS Instagram post and brought me over a ton of books to read, so I spent most of my third week reading:

  1. A Curse Dark as Gold (very good retelling of “Rumpelstiltskin!”)
  2. Dragonfly (enjoyed very much!)
  3. Once Upon a Marigold (not sure I’ll finish it), and
  4. The Blue Sword (enjoying)

So here we are, amidst Week #4, and I was really hoping that my doctor’s “six weeks” prescription was just overly cautious, but I tried to sew up the swap block for November this week and it about killed me with pain and exhaustion to just do a fabric pull, so I had to send out an email apologizing for the block’s tardiness because it will not be getting finished anytime soon.  And, as a precaution, I wrote to December’s swap recipient as well and gave her a heads-up that her block could end up being late as well.  Sigh.

BUT…I woke up from this surgery with NO BACK PAIN for the first time in three years, so the future is looking mighty bright!  I can rest three more weeks if it means no back pain.

And, for Week #4, I’m feeling the knitting a-calling to me…especially:

  • Color-Tipped Italian Cashmere Beanie by Churchmouse Yarns (because it’s beautiful in that wonderfully elegant way that “simple” is beautiful)
  • Honeymoon Cowl by FitzBirch Crafts (learning double knit could be fun)
  • Botanical Yoke Pullover by Purl Soho (oh, that cabled yoke…will have to wait, but it’s sure fun to stare at it when I can)
  • St. Brendan by Kelbourne Woolens (I’m making this some day, but not now because it takes some planning), or
  • Socks! (Because I can do that…)

My son does need a new winter hat…I think my second daughter might need one, too…OH! And I was supposed to mend my youngest daughter’s Hello Kitty hat…bed rest or not, a mama’s work is never done.  I cannot wait to get back to making pancakes, and vacuuming, and cooking dinners that don’t come from a box.  Resting is a nice change, but it’s sucky to be forced to rest from taking care of the people you love.

Randomly in November

  1. I saw the sign-ups for the Bee Hive Swap in time this year, and got in!  :::happy dance:::  So excited!
  2. My own swap group that I’m running liked it so much that a bunch want to do it again next year!  So, busy with setting that up at the moment.
  3. Yeah, two year-long swaps…talk to me at the end of next year.  🙂
  4. I wrote up an exhaustive inventory of the many works-in-progress taking up space in my craft room, and then hammered out a plan to plough through almost all of them in the next year.
  5. The first WIP that will reach completion as a result of my awesome new plan is probably a pair of socks that I started back in Australia.

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  6. A newly-finished pair of socks right now is kind of perfect, given that the snow has started.  I was actually thinking the socks would be a Christmas present for someone dear to me, but my feet are freakin’ freezing, so I’m going to keep them.  Mwa ha ha.
  7. The second WIP that will probably get finished is a baby boy quilt I started almost eight years ago.

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    The kid in this photo is Penguin, who is now nine years old.  She’s drinking from the mug I received after giving birth to Junebug, who is now seven-and-a-half years old…

  8. It’s funny how you can start a project with so much excitement, but with each passing year of not completing said project how much that excitement turns into resentment and shame.  So much so that I definitely don’t want to keep the quilt when I’m done, but fear the repercussions of giving a new life an item infused with so many negative feelings from myself.  The act of giving wipes off all the bad juju, right?  Right?

  9. I’ve also fleshed out a “Baby Gift Flowchart” to help me decide what to make for tiny humans on my radar.  In this age of social media, I find that I’m inundated with the awareness of many a pregnancy, and the baby-lovin’ crafter part of me really wants to make something for every one of them.  However, given the physical limitations of time, I can’t.  So I came up with a way to shrink the pool a bit and ease my conscience.  A line had to be drawn somewhere, or I’d never be done with making baby gifts.

    Baby Gift Flowchart

  10. I’m currently aware of nine pregnancies, and of three women trying to get pregnant.  That’s twelve impending births in the next year.  My flowchart narrows the gifts down to five recipients, which is still a lot, but gives me back a bunch of time.  I am raising four children of my own…
  11. My son broke the teeth off of the zipper of his winter parka the first day he wore it.  Of course.  Even better, he broke off enough teeth that the actual zipper pull fell off, too.  So, instead of working on WIPs, my time is needed to repair a zipper in a parka.
  12. Once again, making plans is a dumb idea.

Autumn Socks

Close-up of cuff of That Crafty Cara's Autumn Socks

The upside of having a broken foot and not being able to use your sewing machine, drive a car, or basically do anything is that it gives you more time for handwork-style crafting like knitting, which I’ve neglected for the past year during my sewing obsession.  I started these socks while we were living in Australia last year, hoping that they’d be ready for Thanksgiving; but they weren’t and it was OK.  They’re ready for this year’s feast.

That Crafty Cara's Autumn Socks

I finished the first sock while we were in Australia, but didn’t get around to casting on for the second sock until July of this year.  Our family went to Lagoon, and seeing how I was still recovering from back surgery and banned from all the rides, I set up camp and watched over all our stuff while my husband escorted the kids around the park.

I then worked on it mostly at physical therapy appointments for the rest of the summer, and finished it up on a lovely autumn day spent doing archery amongst the changing colors of the leaves in the mountains.  These are the autumn-est of socks.

I’ve procrastinated writing up a post about them because I haven’t wanted to model them–I’ve got a boot on one foot for my stupid broken metatarsal, and I had to have something done to a toe on my other foot because my feet are just whiny little pansies right now.  But I know, from previous experience, that I’ll just never get around to writing a post if I don’t do it when the finish is still fresh in my mind, so foot modeling with a broken foot it is!

Sock Modeling with a broken foot

Fabulous sock modeling with a broke footFabulous.
Just fabulous.
Limp down that runway.

I roll my own eyes at myself.  🙂

Hopefully, next week’s check-in appointment will find me wholly healed and then I can ditch the boot.  *fingers crossed*

The yarn is Manos del Uruguay’s Alegria in colorway “Ceibo.”  I knit these up for my US Size 10 feet and have quite a bit leftover.  I may even weigh the leftovers at some point so I can really know just exactly how much is left over.

I used Diane Soucy’s “Beginner’s Lightweight Socks” pattern, which is my go-to pattern, even though I really wish I could get the Yarn Harlot’s “Sock Recipe” to work for me…I mess that one up in some little way every single time, so I went with my tried-and-true pattern.

Pretty autumn colors.  Yay!

Click here to view this project’s Ravelry page.

The Strutting Will Happen Later

Peacock Feathers Stole in-progress, knit by Cara Brooke (That Crafty Cara)
It’s interesting how much my mood changes based upon whether or not I’m sticking to the schedule I’ve laid out for myself in regards to making progress on creative projects.  Falling behind equals feeling gloomy, and checking every step off on the day they’re supposed to be checked off equals a little bit of swagger.  “Oh yeah, I am owning this spreadsheet!”

I’ve struggled to stay on track with the Peacock Stole since we’ve returned home, so I decided to slow down on its creation, opting to shoot for twelve rows a week instead of twenty.  Perhaps it will stay at this rate until it’s done; or maybe I’ll find a little bit of internal kindling in the future to step up the progress to its former level.

Close-up of Peacock Feathers Stole, knit by Cara Brooke @ www.thatcraftycara.com

I’m recovering from a new bout  of back pain which has me laid out on the couch for large portions of the day.  It’s been three weeks since it started up again, and I probably have three to nine more weeks of taking it easy and letting the discs heal.  It’s very frustrating, but I am thankful that I have projects that can move ahead  while I’m stuck on my back.

So, while I can’t literally strut over the progress I’m making on the Peacock Stole, I’m feeling rather proud of how well I’m doing in moving ahead on it.  Progress is inhibited by the necessity of taking some medications that make it hard to concentrate on reading and executing lace knitting, but I’ve been playing it safe and not knitting when I’m taking those medicines.  (Good news: Haven’t taken any medicines in that category in over a week.)  There was an evening where I was thinking I could probably handle knitting “under the influence,” but then I walked into a wall and thought that maybe I’d just play it safe instead.  Patience, patience.

Peacock Feathers Stole, Chart #6, knit by Cara Brooke @ thatcraftycara.com

To date:  Row #100 on the second half.  At the new rate of 12 rows per week, I’m expecting a completion date in July.

Two of a Kind

Oh, my knitter heart is very happy.  Not only do I now possess a new pair of handknit socks, but they’re made from yarn sent by my wonderful best friend, AND the self-striping matched up perfectly!  Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

I busted out an old pattern for these–the first sock pattern that I ever knit, actually:  Diane Soucy’s “Easy Lightweight Beginner’s Socks” pattern.  I made my first socks with it, three years ago.  Sadly, that pair of socks wore out earlier this year, after many, many times of wear.  These replace those.

The yarn is ONline’s “Supersocke 4-fach” in the “Neptun” colorway.  The thing I’ve enjoyed with people sending me sock yarn is that they choose the colors, and the colors are different than what I would choose.  It was fun to knit these up in a colorway that I probably wouldn’t have chosen myself simply because I tend to choose other things.  I really liked this colorway, especially how the turquoise-y part ended up on the heels.  Mmm, turquoise heels.  It made me smile both times it happened while I was knitting them.

Of course, I won’t be wearing these in any regular fashion until we return home, because it’s wicked hot here in Queensland.  (Summer has a way of being hot, doesn’t it?)  However, I couldn’t resist the urge to take a quick photo of my newly-finished socks against the palm tree backdrop of our backyard, even though it’s kind of ridiculous to wear wool socks for any amount of time when it’s 93 degrees (F) outside.  This finish is far more suited for my permanent residence, which saw its first snowfall this past week.

Whatever.  It’s 90-something degrees in November, I have palm trees in my back yard, and a fresh new pair of handknit socks.  Life is good.

(He keeps stealing them because they make “great dancing socks.”)