Oh man. I haven’t posted in forever. I had some posts planned, but wasn’t able to get stuff done because I had life stuff get in the way. I got sick, had to move, and then started class again. So the dust in finally settling and I need to update!
I’ve been wanting to share the book that started my current mindset about making. I read Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline after a discussion in my Maker Spaces class about where our clothing comes from. Ever since I started knitting, I’ve loved the personal satisfaction of wearing things I’ve made. But after that discussion and reading this book, I’m much more aware of the social and environmental issues surrounding the current state of fashion and apparel. Have you ever thought about why your $5 t-shirt is only $5? I think that once you start making your own clothes, you really start realizing the value of labor and how much of a skill sewing really is.
I don’t want to guilt anybody about the clothes that they wear. I am in the awkward place where I’m aware of the issues, but I still am participating in the problem. I know for a fact that I own clothes that were made in the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh that collapsed. I am still wearing those clothes. And after listening to the Planet Money t-shirt series, it’s a much more complicated issue than this is bad and only certain kinds of clothes are good. AND I still haven’t even touched on the environmental issues.
What I appreciate about this book is that the social and environmental issues a pretty much treated as equal. I often see discussions of this issue that only take on one or the other. Besides the sheer amount of chemicals that are dumped when making our clothing, there’s also the waste in all the clothes we throw away. I know that I’ve had items where I’ve never taken off the tag, and then I make the decision to get rid of it. This is what I found the most eye opening, and also the most approachable issue. I can control what I buy and I can control what I get rid of. I can make the choice to mend and repair clothes so I don’t have to get rid of it.
THIS BOOK. Just read this book. There’s other resources like this book that I’ve been wanting to check out. I mentioned the Planet Money T-shirt series, which I think is a really interesting look at the industry. Another book I want to read, which inspired the Planet Money T-shirt, is The Travels of a T-shirt in the Global Economy by Pietra Rivoli. Also there’s the documentary True Cost, which is available on Netflix.
What I also want to mention here, since it relates to the book, is Slow Fashion October, put on by Fringe Association. I think slow fashion is something that relates to pretty much everyone who makes clothes. I’m hoping to participate, I’m gonna do my best to make time for blogging. I’m so excited to see what comes out of this!
I was hoping to have some sewing updates in addition to knitting, but I just don’t really have anything that I want to share on that front. SO here are my knitting updates for now.
First up, progress on Beatnik!
I have now finished the back and front of my Beatnik, which I’ve only been working since, like, last summer. But progress is progress. I’m going to cast on the sleeves soon so that’s exciting. While I love the cables, I’m so glad to be done with them. What I love about knitting is getting into the rhythm of the stitches, and I always feel interrupted when I have to stop to make cables. But the end product is so pretty and definitely worth it.
I’ve also been working on a Hazelhurst for my mom for Christmas. And I’m cool with putting that here because she already knows about it so I’m not ruining a surprise. Through a series of unfortunate events, I am making a second Hazelhurst because the first is gone and she really liked it so I’m making a new one. This one is a little bit bigger so that it fits better on my circulars. I really love this pattern. Sure it’s a simple pattern and it can seem a little tedious, but I am all for tedious. This is the knitting I pick up when I’m watching TV in the evening or if I just need to de-stress. I’ve also been trying this thing that I read in Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitter’s Almanac where I’m marking where I start during a particular knitting session so I can see my progress. So the blue circle in the photo is where I started last night. It’s really motivating to do big amounts of knitting this way. It helps to break down the length, and this is supposed to be 88 inches long when it’s done.
I hope I’ll have some sewing updates soon, I want to get stuff done before school starts up again and I get really busy.
Oh Elizabeth Zimmermann. How has it taken so long? Well, it’s mostly because I don’t like to give in to what’s popular. So when I first started knitting I kept seeing her name pop up, and all I knew was that her stuff was older and everyone liked her, so I would actively avoid her. Lately I’ve been wanting to learn more about my craft (I consider my main craft knitting), so I figured it was time for me to get acquainted with Elizabeth Zimmermann, and I checked out Knitter’s Almanac. And I’m so glad I did. It seems like this book should be like every other pattern book, just a series of pattern with the directions. But it’s so much more than that. I love the way she describes her relationship with knitting, and how she talks about the development of a pattern. I also love how she really encourages her readers to do their own experimentation and make the patterns their own. I love how she talks about unventing techniques, realizing that there’s nothing new under the sun. And most of all, I love her attitude. She made me smile, and I feel like she got me. I am obsessed with knitting and I have something on needles all the time. And Elizabeth understands me. She gets me.
So if you’re like me and you’ve been avoiding Elizabeth Zimmermann, stop it and get one of her books immediately because if you love knitting, you’ll probably love her too.
So I am the queen of not getting presents done on time. I’m sorry friends and family. I am finally catching up on stuff, so here’s some belated mitts.
I made these for my mom for Christmas. And if you want to know how much I hate finishing projects, I actually had these completely done and just needed to weave in loose ends and only just got around to finishing them. They look kind of lumpy in the picture, but trust me they look like normal fingerless gloves when they’re one. These were super fun to make, they’re quick and easy, but they have a few different kinds of stitches to keep you interested. Plus it’s a free pattern!
These were supposed to be given to my brother for his birthday, and they are the second pair I’ve made for him. Through a series of unfortunate events, his first pair that he actually really liked are gone, so he asked me to make a second pair for his birthday, even though his birthday is in June. I thought I could get by with just one skein because I thought I had leftovers from the last pair I made him, but I accidentally ordered a different color. That’s what I get for not saving labels. So hence, the stripe in order to save the main color a little bit.
I’ve been finishing up some other things, so I’ll be posting more soon. But here are the Ravelry pages for my mom’s mitts and my brother’s if you want to see some details.
I think that people are most interesting and engaging when they’re talking about their passion. That’s definitely true for Emily Spivack’s Worn Stories, made up of people talking about pieces of clothing that are significant to them. I’ve been focusing a lot on the ethical situation going on with our clothing and the satisfaction that I personally get when making something. But there’s an emotional component to our clothing too, which I think we all realize when we try to clean out closets or have to pack up all our clothing. What’s really compelling about this book is that it’s not all fancy clothes from big events, they’re deeply personal and intimate and have been worn to bits. So while there are big names featured in this book and each story is specific to the teller, we can all relate.
At the same time, I don’t know that I have a single piece of clothing that I could boil down as the most significant piece of clothing in my life. There was the school uniform that I wore from first grade until high school graduation. I have my dance shoes that I performed and competed in. There’s the dress I wore to my first art show opening and my college graduation. There’s the first pair of converse that I owned, that I wore until they had pretty big holes and the color had completely faded out. I probably have too many clothes that I have deep emotional attachments to.
I highly recommend this beautiful book, and I recommend taking your time with it. I usually tear through books, but this one I just read a couple of stories at a time and savored each one.
For my first official post, I present to you my final project from my Maker Spaces class. I had originally been set on weaving, but had some difficulties so I ended up switching to dyeing yarn with Kool Aid. I wrote an Instructables for the project, and pretty soon after it was published it got featured on the Living page! Which was really exciting! I had so much fun with this project and I hope to do some more dyeing. I’ve been thinking natural dyeing and possibly indigo dyeing on fabric. Plus one of the yarns I’m already using! The first one (the one pictured here) I’m using for the Stovetop hat by Tin Can Knits.
I can’t wait to wear my bright pink hat all winter up here. And if you try out dyeing yourself, just click on my link and check out the instructable! I think this would be really fun to do with kids especially, since you have the fun scents and colors happening.
Welcome to my blog! I’m Sierra and I’m a library student and maker. I was inspired to make this blog after keeping one for a class on Maker Spaces that I took this summer. I really enjoyed documenting my making, but also sharing what I’m reading and learning about making. Since I knit, sew, and crochet, I’m becoming very interested in the apparel/fashion industry and how our making relates to this industry. While I hope to share articles and give reviews of books that I’m reading that relate to this topic, my main goal with this blog is to document what I’m making and share what I’m learning. I’m excited to see where this journey goes!