This was a unique challenge for me because I had only written instructions and 1 on-body pic from Emily for reference (which I assume is on par for test knitting). Normally when I knit something, I spend hours looking through Ravelry, investigating knitter’s adjustments and dissecting project photos for details. I felt pretty challenged by the sleeves, but Emily was kind enough to send me some more photos and it helped me figure them out.
This was a fun knit. The reverse-stockinette and garter stitch combo is unique, and how about those statement sleeves!? My favorite part of this sweater design is the neckband–the foldover crochet bind off looks so tidy and professional, I just love it! The yarn I used is Elder from Ritual Dyes, and its so soft that it doesn’t even feel like wool. Its truly a joy to wear.
What can I say besides I love this sweater! One of my best knits ever, for sure.
Struck by inspiration over the holidays, I sewed a summer sundress! I bought the fabric at a yard sale a few years ago for less than $5. It has that lovely handfeel of an aged poly-cotton blend that I love so much. They don’t make ’em like they used to! The odd thing about this panel print is that the gradient goes weft to weft instead of most other panel prints I’ve seen that follow the grainline. So, I did the unthinkable and cut the skirt pieces the wrong way. I did cut the bodice pieces on the grainline though, and I don’t think its noticeable at all. This change had the added benefit of making the hem very easy to sew because the selvedge edge eliminated the need to double-turn!
I went into my stash for buttons, and found some grey ones that look pretty perfect. I didn’t buy anything new to make this dress. Sewing from the stash feels good! This was my first time sewing my own buttons since I got my machine fixed, it was nice to be back in action on that front. Aside from the cutting layout changes, I staystitched the neckline pieces instead of using vilene shields, a usual change I make when sewing Tessuti patterns. I love the self bias tape specified in the pattern, it really helps a lightweight fabric look professional.
I have worn this once in the cold, paired with a turtleneck and a sweater, but I think it will become a staple in the spring. Happy 2020!!
I made it through all of 2019 (almost) without buying new clothes or shoes! After seeing others on the internet challenging themselves to buy-nothing years, I decided to try it myself: Buy no new clothes or shoes in 2019. I remember guiltily looking in my closet thinking, “wow I just have so many clothes and I never wear them all.” This, combined with my guilt about how wasteful I am as a human being, inspired me to take on this challenge.
How did I do it?
Early on this spring, I remember almost purchasing a top from a secondhand store, but I resisted! Remembering the bigger goal of a no-buy year helped me think clearly when urges crept in. I did make clothes throughout the year.
I discovered some tactics and want to share them in case you too decide you’d like to try it:
Unsubscribe from retail marketing emails. If you eliminate temptation from your inbox, you’re less likely to shop
Make a list of the clothes you want, and see if you still want them months later
Don’t go shopping. Just don’t tempt yourself. You may find you save a lot of time!
Tell at least one person close to you about your goal so you can go to them if you feel tempted
Stop using Instagram. Through the lens of the internet, it may seem like the stuff in everyone’s life is perfect, but stuff is not ever going to make you truly happy (duh). YOU are the product on free social media apps: advertisers are lining up to sell you stuff and use your data, and they’re pretty good at it. I quit using Instagram in January, and I credit that as a large part of my success this year.
As the months tally up, recognize your progress! When I made it to June, I was shocked. Remembering how far I had already come helped me later on in the year when I really wanted to buy something.
In addition to these tactics, I found these resources inspiring throughout the year to help me remember why I took on this challenge:
You may be wondering how much money I saved by not buying any clothes. Luckily, I use YNAB (NO they did not pay me to say this, but YES, I highly recommend using it), so it was pretty simple to gather data to share. The categories I use for budgeting that relate to this post are clothing (including shoes), jewelry, and shoe repair.
In 2018, I spent almost $4,000 on clothing and jewelry. Before looking this up, I really had no idea I spent that much. To be honest, its a little embarrassing to share.
In 2019, I spent ~$300 on clothing, shoes and jewelry. ~$200 was for a Coach purse that I bought before I got a new job, and $100 was for an Ace and Jig top that I bought from my friend. See the end of this post for a full breakdown of my exceptions.
Another interesting thing to note is how much more I spent on “Shoe repair.” New York has done major wear and tear on my shoes, so resoling was a good investment. Here’s a chart that shows 2018 – 2019.
That’s it! I am really proud of myself, and time will tell if I have broken the spell of constantly wanting new stuff. I suspect it will be something I have to work on forever.
As you may have guessed, I did have some exceptions, and purchased some clothing throughout the year. Here’s my full list:
new soccer turf shoes (classified in my budget as “Soccer” not clothing)
2 bras w a gift card from husband (doesn’t show up in my budget because I used a gift card)
Fringe Supply Co. bandana (this was my true moment of weakness…)
Coach purse before I left the company (no it was not ethically made, no it was not made sustainably)
This super-unique pullover sweater is Niska (rav link) by Bristol Ivy. She released it right before Vogue Knitting Live in January, and I got to try it on (!) at the Wing and A Prayer Farm booth. I made it over the summer, but just recently began to work it into my wardrobe.
I loved knitting this, the cable pattern was super interesting, and the construction was unique and thoughtful. I am a charts-only person, so seeing the written out instructions made my skin crawl, but I just zoomed past it and followed the charts with almost no problems. The only modification I made was adding a folded neckband. This was my first time working with BT Shelter (what?!) and it was delightful. Such nice yarn.
I am finding it challenging to figure out how to wear it. Every time I put it on, I don’t feel quite right. But, I love it and I’m on a mission to figure it out!
Look at this cute beret (Rav link)! I made it over the weekend, and I was so excited about it that we went out for pics before I blocked it. I have been thinking about a beret for a long while now, and when Ritual Dyes featured the Best Beret pattern in their newsletter, I immediately put down everything on my to-do list to make it.
This is the beret I have been dreaming of. I raided my scraps to use see if I had anything suitable, and found some mystery white wool, held it with white mohair, and got started. I really like the construction of this hat, the icord start makes it so easy to get the fit right. Even though I have a tiny head, I ended up making the larger size.
I suspected I was going to run out of white yarn, but just decided to wing it, and I figured I could do a little colorblock-action if I had to. Spoiler alert: I ran out of yarn. I found some leftover gray Zelana Performa from our trip to New Zealand, and I really love how it looks with the white! The natural halo of the possum compliments the mohair so perfectly.
What a cheerful little hat to get through the winter!
Here’s something a little different: A belt bag (or by its pattern name, the Fennel Fanny Pack). I spotted this pattern at Rhinbeck on my friend Kiyomi. It looked so good on her that she inspired me to make my own version. I used a little bit of the Pendleton wool I bought in Portland (and still have enough to make something else!!), and lined it with some yellow linen scraps. I spent around $20 on notions at Pacific Trimming, since I was picky about the zippers and buckle.
I must say the pattern is pretty steep at $14. I appreciated how the DIY pattern pieces saved paper, but I wish I had a visual reference for how to orient the zippers once the pieces were ready to be sewn together. My front zipper doesn’t close at the same side as the main one. I had to seam rip this more times than I’d like to admit, and by the time I realized the front zipper was backwards I was not willing to do more surgery. The pattern does mention that you have to be mindful of the zipper placement, but I think an illustration would help reinforce this.
Finishing the interior seams with such thick fabric was beastly until I remembered that double-wide bias tape is accurately named—switching to it helped things tremendously. Despite my complaints about its construction, I really like this bag. I’m not quite sure I can pull it off, but I am trying!
Bonus: here’s a cute lil’ gif of me unzipping the fanny pack:
I just finished my Christmas sweater with some serious time to spare! I haven’t knit a fingering-weight sweater since the Twigs, which was the biggest beast of a sweater to finish ever. This is Stasis from Leila Raven. I’ve wanted to make it for oh-so-long, and I love how it turned out. I did the same mods as many others by adjusting the post-colorwork rounds for a less-high neck.
I decided to finish the neckline with red and green stripes since I omitted the waist colorwork. I knit the entire first round of each color change to avoid the “icky dots” that normally happen with color striping.
The pattern has you knit the sleeves first, which I really liked because 1. you make progress much more quickly than if you start with the body, and 2. the first sleeve can count as your swatch! I noticed that the colorwork looked sorta bad at the sleeve BOR, so when I got to the yoke, I started the “next” row’s colorwork a stitch or two (if the color change was very close to BOR) before the end of the previous row, rather than the end of the upcoming row so there was less of a noticeable shift. IMO the yoke BOR looks much better than the sleeves. I’m pretty happy with it.
I could not have timed knitting this sweater better for travel, I had juuust joined the sleeves to the body before a work trip to Indonesia. On the trip, I finished the colorwork and yoke so I only had the neck ribbing left to do when I got home. I already am dreaming of another more neutral version of this sweater to wear all year round. It fits perfectly, I love it so much!
It was pretty chilly and windy when we took these pics, so I was pretty ready to put my coat back on by the end of things: