Why a handmade wardrobe?

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My Uva shawl

As part of the Love your Blog Challenge by A Playful Day I shared with you recently that I have created a new little section around the theme of a handmade wardrobe (you can find a link on the main menu). The idea is that every time I post something relating to this theme you will be able to find it in the new section.

But what is this theme all about? It is quite simple really, I have become very interested in creating beautiful items for my wardrobe that are made with my own two hands, so I decided to use the blog as a tool to stay inspired and keep track of what I am doing to achieve this.

Why a handmade wardrobe? This is of course not a new concept and many of us who crochet, knit or sew are actually working towards this without a proper label for it. I first heard someone mention it as such while listening to an episode of Woolful featuring Karen from Fringe Association. At the time I was just starting to dive in to the challenge of crochet garments so this idea really spoke to me and started to circle in my head with no plans to leave any time soon.

It made me think about what finished projects I actually wear which led to the stunning realisation that I was wearing hardly any. Even my designs were in a drawer somewhere gathering dust. While doing a sample for a design a few months ago for a pair of fingerless mitts I suddenly stopped. Why am I doing another pair of these when I don’t even like fingerless mitts! It has never made sense to me to leave the fingers uncovered, along with sleeveless jackets they are a mystery to me. But here I was making another pair to go on the drawer with the first pair and the wrist warmers I don’t wear either. What is the point of investing all these time and effort on something that I will never wear? Over the years I have made hats that are too loose or too tight, scarfs and wraps I don’t like the colour of, sweaters that don’t fit and the list goes on and on.

The point of a handmade wardrobe for me is to create pieces that you will not only love to make but also love to wear. And for that you need to use the right yarn, the right colour and make the right size. Karen talks in the podcast about “making with intention” and that is the key to achieve this: you really need to think about what you need in your wardrobe in the context of everything else in it, what colour it has to be, what outfits you can create with it, and of course make sure that the fit is just right.

Currently I have two shawls and two cowls which were made with a bit of more thought into colours and wearability and I am happy to say that I do wear them and most importantly, I love to wear them. My WIPs consist at the moment of one shawl, one cardigan and one cowl, and I also think they will all be a happy addition to my wardrobe once finished. The colours go well with what I usually wear, they are practical, stylish and I have put a lot of effort to make sure everything fits just right.

Another reason to embark in this new journey relates to the environmental impact of the clothing industry and my wish to buy less industrially manufactured clothes. This is quite a big thing for me since I have always been a bit of a shopaholic and even though since moving to the UK I have been a lot better I still buy clothes many times just because I am in the mood of buying clothes and not because I really need them. There is a lot of info out there so I´ll probably dedicate another post to this and how we can be a bit more sustainable when buying clothes and making our own.

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My Alyssium cardigan in progress

Regarding what content I’ll create for the section I am not completely sure yet to be honest, I do know that I want to feature crochet patterns that catch my eye, also more exploring about why this is a good choice for me and of course, how is it working in practice. I am almost finished with my first crochet cardigan so expect to see that soon 🙂

This space will continue to be all about my crochet journey, this is just a new light to that same journey that will help support it, shape it and give it purpose.

Thanks for reading!

x

Sol

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Freyja journey: Patience is a virtue

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My mum always used to say: “patience is a virtue”. She said this because she, as a very impatient person like myself, understood the value of patience. I am the kind of person who goes about life as if there is never enough time: I am always running to the the next thing which is I think the basis for my impatience. There is no time for slowness or inefficiency, from trying to open a package that seems like it was made to never be opened or to pair my boyfriends socks which are all black except for this tiny little embroidery in different colours (I keep trying to convince him no one will notice if they are different).

So it is no wonder that until recently I was also impatient with my crochet projects. I wouldn’t swatch before a garment, or I would use a DK yarn even when I knew the pattern would work a lot better with a 4ply so that I could get started sooner, I would not block my finished project because I couldn’t wait to start the next one and I would not do a proper swatch for my designs but just go straight for the sample instead (I still do this actually…). And most important of all the rules for the impatient crocheter: you don’t rip out, you just pretend like the mistake isn’t there. Because who has time to work all that section again, right?

If you are reading this and nodding (don’t pretend like your weren’t now!), then let me give you a small advice. It will probably sound ridiculous but hang with me for a moment. Here it goes:

If you actually take the time, if you are patient with your projects, you will enjoy them more.

I know, it sounds crazy right? But people, it is true. Not easy, but definitely true.

I am still an impatient crocheter in recovery but I can honestly say that ever since I started taking more time planning my projects, choosing my yarn, making proper swatches, weaving in ends properly, working proper seams and everything else that a patient person would do, I have actually enjoyed my craft a lot more. I not only feel better because the finished product looks and fits better, but I also feel very proud of myself for taking the time to re-do that bit that wasn’t looking very well, or to start again with a different hook size to get a nicer drape. This realisation has helped grow this idea of mine to create a handmade wardrobe that I will want to wear, and time is definitely key in that process. Time and of course, patience. Patience to understand that it is time well spent.

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As the weekend flew by I didn’t have much time to work on my Freyja but I was determined to finish that Row 1 before this next post. Why? Who knows, no one is timing me and I am sure you won’t mind if I take a bit longer. When I had a few hours to spare on Sunday I started working on it and had made some good progress until I realised I made a mistake right after I picked it up that day. I could either get to the end of the row and try to make it work somehow, or rip all I had done in those precious hours. I am proud to say I didn’t think (that long) before deciding to just undo my work and start again.

It is not always easy and I still don’t follow my own advice every now and again. And of course patience has its limits and I won’t start a whole sweater again if I made the mistake right at the beginning (which just happened with my Alyssium cardi by the way). But here I am, with no progress with my Freyja compared to last week and feeling quite good about it. The world hasn’t ended, that mistake is not there to annoy me anymore and that shawl is still going to get finished, just maybe a few days later than planned. For someone so used to running about, I am really enjoying to take things slow for a while.

x

Sol

Love your blog challenge: Beginnings

A Playful Day

I am back today with my post for the next prompt for the Love your Blog Challenge organised by A Playful Day (if you missed the first prompt you can check my last post here). If you are a blogger I would really encourage you to check out the posts that Kate has developed to support the challenge, they feature some amazing bloggers and really great tips to help keep your blogging mojo.

First of all I want to thank everyone who left a comment on my last post about interactions and community, it was really nice to get your feedback and views on this topic and I really appreciate the encouragement you have given me as well. It has been so fun to read other people’s posts and I am very happy to be contributing to our awesome community.

I have been so inspired by readers and bloggers and what really made my week was to see Sarah from Crafts from the Cwtch change her “knit-along” to a “make-along” to include both knitters and crocheters! That really made my heart leap several times *sigh*

This week it is all about beginnings. And unlike last week’s post which was a bit of a struggle to get done, I couldn’t wait to get started with this one after such encouragement. I decided to give my blog a bit of a new leaf to honour this theme, with a new look, a new domain and also a new section. You can now find my blog at acrochetjourney.com, any of the links to the wordpress.com site will still work with this new domain.

If you look at the menu on the top you will see my usual pages for tutorials and free patterns, but you will now also see a new one under the name “handmade wardrobe”. I realised while thinking about beginnings that I really wanted to start exploring this theme more, first with crochet but eventually with other crafts such as sewing and knitting.

After realising that I was spending hours and hours working on projects that I never used I have been putting a lot more thought and attention to each of my projects to make sure that it will be something that I will love to wear once finished. One thing this challenge has made me realise is that I really want to inspire people to give crochet a try and wouldn’t it be great if I could inspire some of my readers so that we are all making lovely garments or accessories that we not only love to make, but also love to wear. There is something so special about handmade items, and clothes really strike a cord with my practical self. You always have to wear clothes don’t you? Well… not always but now we are getting off track!

The new section will contain all my posts from here onwards which relate to creating your own wardrobe pieces, from inspiration and patterns that I would love to try to WIPs and FOs that are being added to my wardrobe. I will do an introductory post soon and start creating content for this new section. Of course this is still a crochet blog so it will centre on crocheted items but with a bit of inspiration from other crafts as well.

So there you have it, my beginning in a new journey… a handmade journey. Hope you continue to join me and thanks for reading 🙂

x

Sol