Slow Fashion, Quality over Quantity, and Why It’s Great to Be a Maker

With so many yarn stores struggling to stay open and designers having a hard time figuring out how to make a living off of $5 patterns, there is much talk about whether our industry is going to last. On the other hand, Etsy is filled with new yarn dyers, and it seems everyone who’s been a knitter or crocheter for much length of time has their own pattern or two up on Ravelry. We aren’t going anywhere!

It seems very timely that discussions about slow fashion have been popping up, and after watching this documentary (look for it on Netflix), I am completely on board with embracing the movement. If slow fashion is a new term for you (as it was for me), here are a few links that explain it better:

http://fashionista.com/2012/12/the-slow-fashion-movement-what-it-is-and-the-10-brands-that-are-doing-it-right

https://fringeassociation.com/2016/09/30/slow-fashion-october-week-1-introductions/

Can Slow Fashion Impact Fast Fashion?

When people think of consumerism and fast fashion, the first things that usually pop into their minds are the overseas factories with poor working conditions for women and children, and overstuffed landfills. These things are probably the two biggest problems with fast fashion today – especially with companies that churn out “collections” every week. When I went to school, there were usually only two, or maybe three seasons a year.

Speaking from a designer point of view, fast fashion has also destroyed creativity. It is not possible to produce entire “collections” every week that will be sold for a few dollars a garment and will probably be in a landfill a month or two later, and still maintain any sense of creativity or design. If you go to the mall these days, doesn’t it seem like everything looks the same? I don’t enjoy shopping anymore at all (well, except for yarn, but that’s another story!), and I realized when I was at the mall a few weeks ago that the reason is because I’m not at all inspired by what I see. And designers cannot just “produce” creativity – it takes time to absorb inspiration, time to experiment, and time to make if you want something of true quality.

I think the fiber community deserves a big credit for its role in this movement. We practically define what slow fashion is! When you buy yarn that has already received alot of by-hand treatment – such as being hand dyed and/or handspun – it just naturally follows you will want to make something special with it that you will keep and pass down to loved ones. The entire process from when the fiber comes off the animal to the finished project is the opposite of being disposable. Even if you are buying cheaper yarns, you are still making something by hand that has a personal touch and will be of value to you over anything you might buy at Walmart for a few bucks. We put thought into what we buy and make, and how we use it once it’s finished.

Speaking as a designer, I put alot of thought into my patterns. I DESIGN each one, from start to finish, which is so much work, but you can be certain I’m not working off of some template, and definitely not just churning out copies of whatever is “on trend” at the moment. Browsing through Ravelry, I am always amazed at all the creativity in our community. It is filled with unique, one-of-a-kind projects, and I hope that we will be the people to inspire the rest of the world to take a few moments to appreciate the unique, and value quality over quantity. And I am much more inspired to design things that I know will be lovingly made and cherished for a long time to come.

I hope we can inspire the fashion industry at large to return to a slower pace as well, and to putting more thought into creativity and design, and less into selling what amounts to quantities of junk.

Timely

Transformation

transformation
My son – transformed into a part of Star Wars

Transformation is not a word we normally associate with Halloween, but I realized that’s exactly why we love Halloween. For one evening, we get to transform ourselves into someone else.

My life has transformed quite a bit this last year. My kids are in a different school situation, which of course has become a whole new situation for me too. My life is filled with lots of new people and places and some days it is exhilarating and others just plain overwhelming.

I haven’t dressed up for Halloween since I was my daughter’s age, because it is so much work to come up with an IDEA for a costume, and then more work to actually put the thing together. We are invited to a costume party where adults have to dress up too, so no chickening out for me this year. And once I got into it, especially this year, I realized I love the idea of transforming into someone else.

Just for fun, or if you are looking for easy DIY ideas, check these out.

  1. Pinterest (for inspiration of course!
  2. Some kid and adult ideas
  3. Crochet ideas amongst some knitting
  4. And, a simple DIY video to help you transform your best LBD and boots, if you so choose. This almost became my costume, but I asked everyone to vote on Facebook, and another idea got the vote…

And the idea that won the vote this year – Katniss Everdeen. I have the shirt, the skinny jeans, the boots and the long hair for a true Katniss braid. Now back to the knitting so it’s done in time for me to transform. Photos to come as soon as it’s done!

 

How to Style an Infinity Scarf (Cowl)

This post will be short and sweet, but I hope, helpful! As you all know, I’m always on the lookout for styling ideas for knitwear. Because we take so much time to craft our pieces, and because it’s human nature to get tired of the same thing, I’m a huge enthusiast of styling because it helps you mix up how you wear the same things. Apparently, the folks at Interweave understand this as well, and made a video to help provide ideas. Enjoy!

For other styling ideas, check out these two posts as well:

Styling (25 ways to style a scarf) and Chevron Tunic Three Ways

Free Fashion Books for Download

Every so often, Vogue magazine does a profile on some new fashion exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I read it and sigh, and then forget about it because really, who can afford to fly from Los Angeles to New York on a regular basis just to see a museum exhibition? Usually when they do these exhibitions, they also do a beautifully curated book to go with it, which I’m sure at the time gets sold in the museum gift shop for a good sum. Eventually these books are no longer in print, and that’s the end of it.

You can imagine my excitement this morning when one of the pages I follow on Facebook posted this link. The museum has posted for (free!!) download 400+ books, many of which are out of print. You can thank me for sharing a month from now when you’re done browsing and downloading. Enjoy!

Pantone Colors of the Year 2016

Pantone has spoken, and apparently colorwise, 2016 is going to be soft and soothing. I love these two colors by themselves as well as paired together. However, if you like a little more punch to harden up a soft pastel, they offer great ideas in their spring fashion report. I always enjoy seeing what they come up with and why they chose certain colors, so I hope you enjoy browsing too!

A Beautiful Marriage

There have been other brides who have crocheted their own wedding dresses, to beautiful effect, but I love this marriage of satin and purple crochet. This is such a beautiful example of combining crochet with a traditional dress, and when I saw this photo, I had to share. I also love her hair – check out the photo of the bride from behind! I have absolutely no reason to be interested in making a wedding dress at this point, but sometimes things are just so beautiful and noteworthy, they deserve a few moments of admiration anyway. Enjoy!

A Chevron Tunic Three Ways

DateNightWhiteJeans
With my gold wedge sandals and white jeans
DressyWithPumps
Dressed up with a pencil skirt and pumps
CasualwithCapris
My typical summer outfit – capris and flat sandals . And my knitting bag, of course!

I finished this tunic a few weeks ago, and plan to wear it with everything and everywhere. The yarn is the softest bamboo, and as you can see, the tunic is super comfortable and versatile! This is a rare instance in which I actually knit the project out of the yarn the pattern called for, and I am very happy I did.