favorite sustainable resources / “local” / traceable fabric and yarn origins / traceable garment origins / reference books, films, videos
This is where my eyes glaze over.
My favorite sustainable resource is Alabama Chanin. It's the only one I actually know about first-hand, and I know it by accident -- because it's a big part of who they are, and because they told me -- not because I looked it up.
Of course I care, but I don't always have the time or inclination to do the research, find a comparable alternative that meets all the "requirements."
We could be talking about food.
Sometimes I have the time and budget to shop, compare, and prepare a wonderful meal with locally grown, pastured, grass-fed whatever, and sometimes a Big Mac will do.
Sometimes I have the time and budget to shop, compare, and sew or knit a beautiful garment with organic cotton or wool, and sometimes a trip to Target will do.
I have become much more aware of all of this in recent years and I know that I'm better. I haven't had a Big Mac in years. And I'm much more particular about what I buy at Target (in all departments).
Because of the many Slow Fashion October conversations, my awareness continues to grow and I will continue to learn. I'm interested. Karen has a great round-up post today with lots of links that I am making my way through.
* * * * *
But here's the bottom line for me and what I love about making things.
Junah is wearing a Wonderful Wallaby that I originally knit for my nephew Mack in 2007 and that was also worn by Addison. It certainly has enough "life" for many more! Nothing beats quality materials (Mission Falls 1824 Cotton... I miss you!) and love!
See you Sunday for NaBloPoMo kick off! Are you ready??
I loved Mary's suggestion for the "mundane" and have also seen "lists" as a suggestion for blog posts. Well, here we have my mundane day-off to-do list!! Let's call it a NaBloPoMo warm up.
- Chiropractor - 9:30 a.m.
- Oil change - 11:30 a.m.
- Sales tax
- End of month (start)
- Quarterly reports
- Call the IRS
- Pack up and mail the Traveling Scarf
- Kelly - wedding photography info
- Take measurements
- Make kombucha
- And a bunch of other stuff
I hated taking my boots back to the cobbler shop! The new pull-tab on the left boot broke again the second time I pulled it on... I never even tried the right boot (and that's the one that I really need it for). They're going to sink the pulls deeper, stitch them more, and also stretch the instep of the boot a bit. Finger's crossed! I pick them up again in a week.
I loaded up several boxes of books and sent them to Half-Price Books with Kate today. They're mostly my mom's books and it's only the beginning...
The IRS. I wish I didn't ever have to call them, and I put it off this time for a couple of weeks already... It all has to do with Ali changing her business from a Sole Proprietorship to an LLC and a snafu of paperwork complicated by her also getting married and changing her name, and all within a month in May-June 2013 but not realized until the end of the year. Yes, 2013. I do believe (as I am fervently knocking on wood) that this is the last little piece and that nothing having to do with that changeover is left unresolved. That said, I have had nothing but pleasantness and helpfulness (special training?) from everyone I've spoken with at the IRS. I'm thinking that it's four or five or six different people, now, and *I* wasn't always as cool and collected. Ahem. Anyway, it's probably a much better experience when I call them than if it were the other way around.
The Traveling Scarf arrived in my mailbox in July and I knit quite fervently for a while and then I stalled. Well, I knit a few more rows this morning while I bought postage online and arranged for package pick up, and it'll be in the hands of USPS tomorrow morning! There's one more stop before it heads home to Kim.
I came across the Options KAL the other day and that striped version reminded me that I really want to knit another Fib -- longer, with shaping, and V-neck. Also, I've yet to use CustomFit to make a sweater! So, measuring.
Kombucha making starts tonight!
Ten on Tuesday: 10 Tips/Ideas/Topics for Daily Blogging in November
aka National Blog Posting Month, or NaBloPoMo!
I can't not do it, having done it every year since 2009. I am not and have never been much of a planner when it comes to blogging... I almost always blog by the seat of my pants! That said, I usually keep some ideas in mind for NaBloPoMo!
1. Daylight Savings Time! DST ends on November 1st this year... maybe there are some thoughts to share about that.
2. Photos! A good photo is sometimes all that's needed (though I am certainly guilty of posting a not-so-good photo at crunch time). "Saturday Sky" and NaBloPoMo are a match made in heaven.
3. My Birthday! Lucky for me, my birthday is in November and that's always good for a post or two.
4. Weekending! A few photos along with some words on a Monday morning to share weekend doings -- there are five Mondays in November.
5. Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving -- planning, prep, cooking, decorating, celebrating -- can be good for a few (or more) posts.
6. Holidays! Fast on the heels of Thanksgiving, there's planning, prep & decorating to do!
7. Knitting! Most of us are knitters, so there may be a recent FO to share, some holiday knitting, a WIP that's seeing some action.
8. Ten on Tuesday! Also perfect for NaBloPoMo! 4 Tuesdays + 5 Mondays + 4 Saturdays = 13 fairly stress-free days of blogging.
9. Throwback Thursday! Add 4 Thursdays and over half the month is taken care of!
10. Don't Stress. I try not to agonize over NaBloPoMo. Not every post is going to be stellar (guaranteed). I don't have to write a daily dissertation (I don't even have to write). And I try to be flexible (which is easy to do when the planning is loose to begin with) and open to whatever comes along!
So, are you ready? Are you in??
Marjorie, my mother, on her wedding day -- June 26, 1958
Alison, my daughter, on her wedding day, June 15, 2013
* * * * *
heirlooms / second-hand / mending / caring for things / laundering for longevity / design for longevity
Somehow, against all odds, my mother's wedding dress survived 55 years (far longer than the marriage, which only lasted 12) to be worn again by my daughter when she got married a little over two years ago.
My Aunt Carol was maid of honor and her dress was the same as Mom's with the exception of the sash, which was light blue instead of white.
The veil did not survive to be worn again, nor did those lovely gauntlets (or my aunt's dress)!
The dress was never "preserved" or even particularly cared for over the years. My sisters and I used it for dress up, as did my daughters; and I had it displayed (collecting dust) on a wicker dress form in my bedroom for several years.
It was in dire need of cleaning, as well as some repairs! It was just about three years ago that I put out a call to friends for a recommendation on cleaning and altering, and we ended up at Art Imig's in Sheboygan. Mom came along on that trip, and maybe the second; after that she was too sick or tired or stressed out from radiation and/or chemo.
The first step was to clean it, which was wonderfully accomplished by soaking it in OxiClean.
Then we discussed alterations. My mother had previously done some night-before-the-wedding sleeve alterations of her own -- removing a bit of gathering on the sleeve cap so it wasn't puffy anymore but instead laid flat. That alteration also inhibited range of motion, so the entire sleeve area was a big stress point and very much in need of repair. There were some other small tears in the skirt that need to be repaired, as well, but nothing too serious.
The tailor was able to "steal" small bits of fabric from here and there to repair and reinforce the sleeves, and she replaced all the stays and the crinoline. The satin sash and bow had to be re-used because there was absolutely no new "white" satin that matched!
My mom had received some good news about her response to treatment just the day before the wedding, hence the "thumbs up!"
I think nearly all the topics have been covered with just this dress! The dress is hanging (covered) in my work room. We had talked about some repurposing options, but have decided to keep it... there are others in Ali's generation that may still wish to use it, and maybe even in the next. It would be nice if it was still an option for them, anyway.
At first glance, this week's theme for Slow Fashion October seemed like a no-brainer. Haha. Yeah.
proudest accomplishment / most loved item / most frequently worn item / thing you saved up for / investment pieces / thing you worked a long time on / oldest thing that’s still in rotation
Proudest accomplishment(s): Girl's Dress, St. Brigid, Williamsro, Fibonacci, Parcheesi, Polka-Dot, Hootie, Catamount
Girl's Dress, pattern from Woman's World magazine; ca. 1983, using the most inexpensive yarn I could find at the variety store. (What's "gauge"?) It never fit anyone, but I learned more from it than almost anything else I ever knit! It was my "REVELATION" project!
It was my "Rhinebeck Sweater" in 2005.
I don't actually wear it much anymore and have thoughts of turning it into something else.
Fib. What's a woman to do with leftovers -- 7 different colors of the same yarn?
My "Rhinebeck Sweater," 2006.
Most loved item: It's like picking a most loved child... but I'm going to say Parcheesi.
Most frequently worn item: Polka-dot (I love that shirt).
Thing you are saving up for: An Alabama Chanin Workshop - learning is good.
Investment pieces: Almost all of the items marked "Eileen Fisher." A fair number of them have been acquired second-hand for a relative pittance, bringing the average price of the pieces I own quite reasonable.
Thing you worked a long time on: Catamount? St. Brigid? Parcheesi?
Catamount, an Alabama Chanin A-line Tunic Dress
Oldest thing that's still in rotation: I think it's probably the autumnal Vogue cover sweater that my sister Sharon knit in the early 1990s. It's huge and dense and I wear it more as a jacket in the fall. (A decent photo of that is on my list of things to do.)
* * * * *
Timehop tells me that two years ago today is when I first fell into the Alabama Chanin rabbit hole, having finally been lured in by an adorable onesie and blanket kit... as luck would have it, just a couple of months before I'd become a grandmother!
Have a great weekend y'all!
Ten on Tuesday: 10 Things I Did On the Weekend
1. Slept In. I had an early morning message from Ali on Saturday: No market! She is busy forwards and backwards and combined with a few other things happening in her world, it just wasn't going to happen. So I went back to bed! I didn't really sleep much more, but it sure felt cozy under the covers.
2. Watched the sun rise.
3. Cleaned out the garage. Overtaken by art displays and indigo dyeing apparatus, my car hasn't seen the inside of the garage since spring! I hate to mention it, but snow is on the way! We still have to move the indigo vat before there's room for the car (maybe tomorrow).
4. Did some thinning/cleaning out at Mom's. I decided to be productive with my "extra" time on Saturday. There's still plenty of extraneous stuff at Mom's that she loved and tended, but to which my stepdad doesn't really have an attachment. The Royals, for one thing. Have a thing for The Royals? Mom did! I thought I'd give it a couple of hours... five hours later... (so.much.stuff).
5. Marveled at some of the things I found. A few tugs at the heart.
6. Watched Junah for a while. (Impossible to photograph that boy lately!) He's wearing his Great Uncle Mike's sweater, which I found in a drawer at Mom's. I had possession of it for a while when my girls were little, and I'm pretty sure that Annie had same when my nephews were younger. It's probably a size 5-6 (the sleeves are rolled twice in these photos). The tag is gone, so I have no idea of manufacturer, origin, or content. It's almost 50 years old, though, so most likely U.S.-made and not likely wool. Heh. The buttons were nabbed from one of my dad's old Air Force uniforms. #slowfashionoctober #handmedowns
7. Watched the sun set.
8. Watched the sun rise again. Kate, Ali and I were on the road by 7 a.m. on Sunday morning, bound for Reedsville, WI...
9. We went to Fermentation Fest! Ali & I took a class: Kombucha 101 presented by Vanessa + Alla, founders of NessAlla Kombucha in Madison. We both bought starter kits; everything is there: a 1-gallon jar, oolong tea, organic sugar, a (genius) laminated recipe/instruction card, a cotton square & rubber band to tightly cover, and a SCOBY! Kombucha will be happening!
Fermentation Fest, an initiative of The Wormfarm Institute, is FAB! It's been on my radar for a year or two. My sister Karen went last year and took a class or two; this year, I think she took four or five! In fact, she was so busy that we didn't even have a chance to meet up. (We'll see each other again soon!) This was my first year and that was my only class... definitely not the last.
10. Farm/Art DTour. Katie took in part of the tour while Ali & I were in class, and we drove through the rest afterwards. Incredible. Obviously, one of my favorite installations was Monday is Wash Day by Brenda Baker. I wish I'd taken more/better photos of that. AMAZED!
Listen: Slow Fashion Shows Consumers What It's Made Of on NPR
handmade / living with less / quality over quantity / capsule wardrobe / indie fashion / small-batch makers / sustainability
Handmade: Since knitting has been my main "making" activity over the past couple of decades, and because I'm rather selfish with my limited knitting time, I have a few sweaters and a pretty good number of shawls among my handmades. I've knit a reasonable amount of tiny things, too, for my nephews and my grandchildren. I've been given a few pairs of handknit socks, but can't think of any other articles of clothing in my wardrobe made by another's hand.
Living with Less: I am a KonMari believer! I have done some magical tidying, and there is still quite a bit to do. As important as the tidying/clean-out, I've found that I am acquiring less than ever. Recreational shopping is a thing of the past!
Quality over quantity: Preaching to the choir. I learned this at an early age. As a single mother of five and a full-time nursing student who received assistance and food stamps, my mother still bought quality clothing for herself and for us. We had fewer pieces of clothing than most of our peers, and my sisters and I had more than one fight (per week) over underwear and socks, but it was good quality clothing and it lasted -- often to be shared and/or handed down, but just as often to be loved and worn to tatters.
Capsule wardrobe: I have briefly thought about making an effort at this. Truthfully, though, my closet/clothing storage space is so tiny that it naturally keeps the size of my wardrobe small and manageable.
Indie fashion/Small-batch makers: I guess most of my forays into indie fashion have been supporting indie pattern makers. My budget just doesn't allow for clothing made by anyone's hands but my own!
Sustainability: This is where my eyes always begin to glaze over. Whether we're talking food, yarn, clothing, or whatever. I know it's important and one of the big reasons why #slowfashionoctober is even a thing. I try to buy responsibly, reasonably, with an awareness of origin... whaa, whaa, whaa. I try not to feel guilty/bad about not being MORE aware/caring/passionate/responsible. I'm in with those who do what they can.
- My favorite handmade (and also mended) shirt, sewn in and inspired by the Alabama Chanin style, and made from a men's thrifted overstock/new 4X t-shirt.
- A Talbots cardigan, which I've had for a few years, purchased at a thrift store.
- The Eileen Fisher organic cotton cropped pants that became such a part of my uniform over the past few months that I bought a second pair; I am seeking styling tips to keep wearing them in cooler weather.
- My beloved and years-old Wolky sandals that were just picked up from the shoe/leather repair shop, having had new leather insoles cut and applied for $25.
First let’s introduce ourselves: Where are you at with all this / What first got you interested in Slow Fashion / What are your skills / What do you hope to get out of Slow Fashion October / What are your personal goals for the month / Do you have a special project you plan to tackle this month?
The most important people in my life are family and almost all of them -- to some degree -- are/were also makers.
- Textiles, fiber and reed
- Rocks, gems and metal
- Wood, clay, and glass
- Paper, graphite and paint
- Seeds, dirt and water
Resulting goods (and motivation) range from utilitarian to decorative, executed by novice makers to highly skilled artists... but there's always been making and doing.
My mother taught me to knit when I was six. I knit on and off in high school and as a young adult in the world (I found knitting needles, yarn, and a slightly challenging pattern to be a great antidote to loneliness), but it's been in the last 15 years or so that I became a truly avid knitter. Thankfully, about 10 years ago, knitting blogs were a Really Big Thing and I became part of that community where people actually thought about knitting and thoughtfully wrote about knitting, yarn, tools, technique (and life), and I learned so much.
Dresses sewn by Mom (including her own).
Though my mother was an excellent sewist, she was also a very busy single mother & student, and I didn't learn to sew (more than a button) until I took Home Ec. in high school! My stepmother actually owned a fabric & craft store when she met my dad, and I made a couple of skirts under her tutelage -- but mostly I knit angora hats and made macrame plant hangers for her to sell at the store; she gave me the sturdy used Husqvarna sewing machine that I've used for the past 35-40 years.
I've written a little about sewing and fashion -- and slow fashion -- and quality last April. I am not a crusader, but I am aware and quietly help to make others aware.
Mostly, I just do. I make and do because that's what I've always done -- it's one of the ways I know I'm alive! The day I stop making and doing, I'll be dead.
I became interested in/aware of slow fashion when I began learning about Natalie Chanin and her company, Alabama Chanin in 2012. One of the things I admire about Alabama Chanin is the open source concept. Because as much as I'd like to own, wear, and love a $4,000 handmade dress, it is just never going to happen; but there are resources and tools available for me to make one myself.
Anyway, I'm participating in Slow Fashion October because I love seeing what others are doing. Just as I learned so much about knitting from the knit-blog community, I am inspired and in awe of what's happening in the larger "maker" community. And I will learn things.
I actually have a couple of goals for the month. One of them is to mend an already mended tunic. Shown above is a visible (embellished!) repair made a few months ago near the hem. Now, there are two small holes in the tummy region. I do not want to give up this garment just yet!! So I need to figure out a way... and am open to suggestions!
Opening weekend for Fox Valley Found + Collected at Standard Projects in nearby Hortonville. There's a lot happening there! (Kate's been doing a series about The Residents at Standard Projects at Young Space.)
A rare find at any local farmer market: artichokes! Our season isn't usually long enough. These were tiny, and also delicious.
Harvest Festival at Grignon Mansion. House tours, good food and beverages, pie eating contests, a pumpkin patch, pumpkin decorating and carving, face painting, blacksmithing and spinning demonstrations, live music, and more! It was chilly (October!) -- we served up every last drop of hot cocoa -- but not so cold that it kept people away. In fact, it was quite well attended for a first-ever event.
It's an amazing little house & property. Once upon a time, before soccer took over, this was the site of an annual Civil War Encampment. We attended it once before it ended, watching the cavalry thunder over that hill. Kate was probably 8 or 9, and was quite impressed (traumatized?) by the realistic acting of a wounded soldier about to have a leg amputated...
Built in 1837, the house was brought back from the brink some years ago and beautifully restored.
Humored by... that kid! He started pressing the button and...
This is a small sampling of my current gallery!
Anticipating... the end of Farmers Market season. It's been a great season, and we've been *so* lucky with the weather! While there are technically three weeks remaining, due to other engagements we've only the Oct. 10th market left on our calendar. This Saturday, we'll instead be helping all afternoon with refreshments at the Harvest Festival at Grignon Mansion! The "mansion in the woods" is a real gem.
I'll be happy to have my Saturdays back!
Enjoying... cooler, drier weather and changing leaves and gorgeous skies. We've had an incredibly temperate late summer/early fall. I'm still wearing sandals!
Hoping... the trend continues.
Knitting... Dimorphous Mittens and Scoreboard. I've just ordered a couple of skeins of back-up yarn for my Prickly Poppy -- something I've been pondering for a while now -- prompted to action by the news that The Village Knitter is looking for a buyer (or will eventually close). That sweater's time out is just about over.
Learning... a little about soccer! I spent a glorious day soaking up the sun and watching my nephews play. I missed seeing Mack score a goal because I was taking video of the clouds (as did his mother because nature called!), but I did catch his even better assist (according to his dad) later in the game!
Needing... to get on with some cleaning and organizing, but not doing that until it's too cold to go outside anymore!
Planning... a spring vacation -- maybe by train, maybe to Texas!
Reading... A Woman's Way West. It's not an incredibly well-written book, but it's entertaining and gives a pretty good a glimpse (with lots of photos!) into Doris Huffine's life (1901-1990) in the Montana wilderness. I love stories of women pioneers, and was given this book after the girls had gone on their June 2013 camping trip to Glacier National Park (where Doris began working in the '20s).
Sewing... a simple and "quick" boatneck top that's taking forever! I made a little progress yesterday... maybe I'll finish by the weekend.
Watching... reality shows about singing and dancing. There are some other things recorded/-ing but I haven't begun watching yet.
Remembering... waking up from Tuesday's nap.
Wishing... I was on the road back to Black Mountain with Kate! She left today for a weekend conference and I can't wait to hear all about it.