I’m always surprised when people compliment me on putting together cool outfits. Thank you very much for the compliments friends, they are appreciated, but I feel, undeserved. I’ve loved fashion since I was 10 or 11. My dad bought me Teen magazine for a long road trip, and I devoured it cover to cover multiple times on the road, and promptly subscribed when I got home so I would never miss another issue. I still love fashion magazines, subscribe to way more than I should, and read them regularly.
However, I don’t consider myself a very fashion-y sort of person. The only times I go shopping are with my dear friend C, which is more to spend time with her than because I’m really dying to go shopping, or when I absolutely need something. I’m not particularly trendy either, and am not one of those people who keeps catalogs of outfits. My main problem is time, and honestly, I am much more interested in the process of creating clothes than I am in being known for how I dress.
I tend to think of my clothes as a blank canvas to show off my knitwear. The two most important things to me are fit and practicality. Of course I like to look good, but I also need to be comfortable because I’m constantly working, and during the school year, running around for the kids. I thought I’d share are the building blocks I use, which of course, are there just to show off the stuff I’m truly proud of…aka, my handmade pieces! :)
I have a drawer filled with basic crew- or V-neck long-sleeved tshirts. I buy them cheap at Target, but I would advise trying them on at different stores to figure out which store makes a cut that you find flattering on yourself, and then buying them in multiple colors. I color-coordinate them with scarves, cowls, and shawls, or I wear a neutral color underneath my alpaca poncho in the winter.
I don’t think you can ever have too many tank tops or short-sleeve tshirts. You can layer them under cardigans or wear them alone with jeans or shorts and of course, whatever handmade accessories you feel like showing off. I also wear tank tops under looser knit sweaters, as I feel a tank top gives a cleaner look than something with sleeves. Black, white and gray are the musts – other than that, it’s open season on your favorite colors! I buy my favorites at Victoria’s Secret, but again, look around and find the ones you feel best flatter you.
Shoes. Oh, where to start?! Aside from my knitwear, there is nothing else I love more. In the summer, I live in sandals and flipflops because they are so versatile. Unless you’re going black tie, you can wear a nice dress and scarf, and sandals, and still look dressy enough to go out for an evening, but still wear them all day and be comfortable. For the cooler weather, you can’t beat comfortable boots. I wear the high ones over leggings, or with skirts, and the shorter ones with everything else. One caveat about boots – I advise trying them on before buying. I buy alot of things online just to save time, but my favorite, and longest-lasting, pairs of boots are the ones I took the time to try on and buy in-store. Unfortunately, boots are not something you can “cheat” – if they don’t fit perfectly, you’ll never wear them.
And last, but definitely not least, jeans and leggings! Aside from the hot months, when I’m forced to swap my jeans for shorts and dresses, I rarely wear anything else. I buy good-quality black leggings at WhiteHouseBlackMarket, and I buy my jeans wherever I can find a pair that I feel truly flatters me. Jeans are the other item I advise trying on. There are so many different cuts, and the only thing that really matters is how you feel and look when you put them on. I don’t pay attention to the size, as I am happy to wear a larger size than normal if I feel a pair flatters me. I also don’t care about brand. I do care about price, so I am not a proponent of the $250 dollar pair of jeans, but other than that, it’s all about fit and color. I like a good dark wash, but switch it up with white and colored pairs. The basics are your favorite blue wash, black, and white, but from there, it’s all about personal preference.
If you have favorite ways of showing off your crochet and knit pieces, please share! I’m always open to trying something new!
While browsing a bookstore last night (a favorite way of mine to take my mind off my worries), I came across a book that featured this site. I didn’t end up buying the book, but just the name ColourLovers told me it’s a site made just for the likes of me. I’m afraid it’s even more of a rabbit hole for me than Pinterest. Have fun!
Most of us can’t afford haute couture, but the skill and attention to detail is something any crafter will appreciate. I can only hope that one day I will have developed an equal skill with knit and crochet. Enjoy!
In keeping with flu season, I am sick, and today is the fifth day I have a fever and pretty much have to stay in bed. I know it really is time to rest in bed when I’m too sick to even crochet or knit, as there is usually never a day that goes by I don’t pick up a project to work on. However, no matter how sick I am, I can’t sleep round the clock, so for me, reading is the next best thing. Here is my reading list, all of which is light reading, easily picked up again if you doze off in the middle. Take care of yourselves, and if you’re not sick, I think you will enjoy these anyway! Happy, and I hope, healthy reading!
Tory Burch: In Color – Lots and lots of gorgeous photos and color inspiration. Bonus for sick people – not a whole lot of reading, but beautiful browsing!
The Gentle Art of Domesticity – One of my absolute favorite books ever! Read a chapter, read it cover to cover, or again, just browse all the beautiful photography! The best word I can think of to describe this book is “soothing”.
The Knitter’s Life List – This book could also be interesting for crocheters – alot of the ideas about exploring the world of fiber apply to crochet as well. When you’re out of commission in bed, this book will help you dream up new projects to start when you are back on your feet.
Pom Pom Quarterly – I have my boss to thank for introducing me to this lovely little British publication. It covers knitting, crocheting, as well as a variety of related interests, and is a magazine I always look forward to receiving and reading from cover to cover.
I love it when people give you something that has special meaning, but can be incorporated into your daily living. Apparently, I’ve been knitting and crocheting just long enough to have developed a reputation with my family and friends. Lately, come every birthday or holiday, a new crafty-related item appears somewhere in our house. These are my top three favorites – deserving of their priority because I use them ALL the time.
First is my Namaste Poppins bag. This was meant to be my master project bag, I swear. But it’s turned into the handbag I carry everywhere, all the time, and just happen to throw projects and notions into when I need to transport them with me. I can’t count the number of compliments I’ve received on this bag, and take it from me, raspberry is the new black. Somehow, magically, this bag just goes with everything! For those of you who may not like the fact it’s $89, let me wish you the best of luck in finding a Dooney & Bourke bag for anywhere near that cost!
I will be so heartbroken if anything happens to this mug! It was a very thoughtful gift from my husband a few Christmas’s ago, and the only days I’m not drinking my morning coffee out of it are the days it’s sitting in the sink waiting to be washed. He gave it to me right around the time it became apparent that knitting was not a passing hobby, and our house would be keeping a yarn stash on a permanent basis.
The most recent yarn-y related gift – earrings for my birthday. These earrings have received so many compliments, and I wear them all the time. I like them better than studs, but they’re small and tasteful enough they go with everything, and if I fall asleep in them, they’re not bothering me all night long. My husband said they weren’t expensive, but they are precious to me because I thought it was such a thoughtful gift.
If you have favorite craft-related items you use in your daily life, I would love to see.
I somehow missed this being published on Business of Fashion, but now that I found it, I wanted to share. If you missed the first installment, feel free to catch up! The whole point of being a designer is getting from the sketchbook to the sales floor to sell the finished piece, and of course, the part in between is the part some of us have always found intimidating. I really appreciate this series and wanted to share it in hope it will be helpful to more than just me! Enjoy.
Nothing gives me more excitement than finding a new designer to follow. Or learning about a well-established designer that I hadn’t heard of before! The best designers are the ones who constantly pursue creativity, and their dedication shows. They’re the ones you watch with anticipation to see what they will release next. Here is my personal list of favorites, but I would LOVE it if you share yours with me! I’m always on the lookout for someone else to follow. Enjoy!
Irina Shabayeva is a fashion designer whom most people probably know from Project Runway. She is a great fashion designer, but I love it when the fashion world takes a few minutes to appreciate the knitwear world. Knitters may remember her patterns being published in Vogue Knitting – her fabulous welted coat has been on my list to make for a very long time! The photo above is one of my first-ever knitting projects, made as a gift for a dear friend.
I have not yet knitted up a Galina Carroll design, but I think she is also an incredible artist with a good eye for fashion. When her autobiographical book was featured in Vogue Knitting, I ordered it and devoured it from cover to cover. She even wrote a very nice personal note to me when she shipped it.
Yes, this is my boss. However, she is also a designer who has an eye for things that will pop into your wardrobe and go with everything. I’ve knit alot of of her designs, and they always end up being go-to pieces that I end up throwing on at the last minute when I don’t know what else to wear. Plus, I have learned a great deal about writing patterns from her personally, but also just from working through her pattern instructions. I also appreciate her ability to create something practical with yarns that I might not even consider buying otherwise, such as this poncho I’m wearing above.
She caught my eye when this sweater pattern was published in Knitty. At the time this was published, I was just learning to knit, and this pattern seemed totally out of my league. It sat in my queue for a LONG time, but her design stayed in my head, and after I started feeling more confident, I knitted it. It is a complicated pattern, and I was very proud of myself when I finished it!
No list from a color fanatic like me would be complete without Kaffe Fassett! I did not realize until I started reading his biography that he is a local artist! He now lives in England, and it seems everyone thinks of him as English, but he was born and raised in California. He is a very long-established artist, but his knitwear in older books is still very striking and inspirational color-wise, even though many of the sweater silhouettes are now out of fashion. He is truly a master of color, as well as all different media. If there is one person in the universe who could make me want to abandon knitting and take up quilting, it would be him!
I’m very grateful to the friend who introduced me to Kieran Foley. I just finished knitting one of his designs for a friend’s birthday. She is celebrating a milestone birthday, so I wanted to do something extra special for her, and his Camino Bubbles fit the bill. It takes a special skill as a designer to design a pattern that looks way more sophisticated and complicated than it actually is to knit.
What can I say about Stephen West except that I love him! His patterns are some of the best written out there – very clear and easy to follow. I met him and had him sign books for me at an event our shop held a few years ago. He was extremely polite and so nice. And I am always amazed when he releases new patterns how creative he gets with just simple Stockinette and garter stitch. He is a designer who truly understands how to take the basic elements of design and turn them into something innovative! Even though I have a good eye for color and usually pick my own, I think it’s very generous of him to take the time to put together color palettes for other knitters when he releases designs. But then again, if you have the chance to meet him, I think you’ll agree it’s not surprising!
Crocheters, lest you think I’ve ignored you, no worries! I am saving my list of favorite crochet designers for a separate post!