The value of slow

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For most things in my life, I strive for using as little time as possible. I also try to organise my day so that every hour is planned and therefore used efficiently, given my tendency to start watching TV and suddenly realising that is midnight and I didn’t do anything. These days everyone is working towards faster, faster, faster and I am not the exception.

I realised the other day however that the only slow thing I do is crocheting and knitting. If we think about it in terms of process and time, we are talking snail-speed here. From choosing a pattern (we have all spent countless hours on Ravelry), to finding the right yarn, swatching, then knitting/crocheting the actual project, finishing and blocking, it is a very slow way to get a shawl/hat/sweater/etc. into your closet.

There is a new term going around called slow fashion, it is mainly applied to the fashion industry and how to make the whole supply chain more sustainable and fair to all who take part in it. I believe that this is extremely necessary and important, and we should all support it as customers. But I also believe that this micro level of slow fashion, the personal one, is essential. Taking the time, however long that is, to make something with your hands that is to be worn and loved is something I have really come to appreciate in the last year. Instead of falling on this “go faster” mentality us knitters and crocheters are constantly looking for more challenging patterns that actually make us go even slower, ain’t that amazing?

At the end of 2015 I made my first knitted cardigan. I started on a train journey at the beginning of October and finished it by the holiday time in December, it was a beginner pattern and it actually felt like a quick project. Hallelujah for knitting/crocheting and its magic to make us go slow in a world where faster is king.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

xx

Sol

PS If you are looking for a great beginner sweater pattern, the Ramona Cardigan is perfect. Top down construction in aran weight yarn, a very well written pattern and a lovely and simple fit. Can’t recommend it enough.

FO: Alyssium cardi

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Handmade wardrobe in the air! I seem to have decided to go on this journey just at the right time, everyone seems to be talking about a handmade wardrobe lately and it is so exciting. I have a finished object (FO) to share with you but first let me tell you a bit of what has been going on:

  • This month is Me Made May 2015, a challenge to encourage people to wear and love their handmade items, how awesome is that? There are a few hashtags going around in social media (#memademay, @memademay15) with people posting pictures of them wearing their handmade garments or accessories and it is so inspiring. I am not officially taking part (not good at taking pictures of me every day) but definitely cheering on and enjoying to see everyone’s posts.
  • Joanne Scrace from The Crochet Project has created a Facebook group called “Make it. Wear it”. The group is aimed at people interested in wearable knitted and crochet garments or accessories. The group already has quite a few members so be sure to check it out if you want to join the chat.
  • Kate from A Playful Day has a topic for each month as part of her “inspired 2015” theme and this month is all about a handmade wardrobe (I am telling you there is something in the air!). She has a podcast out with this theme which I haven’t listened to yet but I love her podcast so I am sure it will be a good one.
  • Finally, Sarah from Crafts from the Cwtch has kicked off her make-along this month, the idea is to make a shawl using a craft, technique or construction you haven’t tried before. There are quite a few knitters making crochet shawls and crocheters trying out their knitting skills which I think is amazing! I am taking part on this make-along with a shawl from The Shawl Project by Joanne Scrace. Check out the Ravelry group if you want to take part!

So now to the reason for this post: I finished my Alyssium cardigan! I am so excited to share this FO with you guys because I am completely and absolutely in love with this cardigan.

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The pattern is the Alyssium cardigan by Joanne Scrace and I knew I had to make it since the first time I saw it. It is really hard for me to like a pattern for a crochet garment, mostly because they don’t have any drape and I am in a I-only-want-to-wear-very-loose-clothes phase. But then I saw this cardigan and it looked just perfect: drapey, with a beautiful but simple stitch pattern and that ribbing is such a lovely design detail.

I decided to use the same yarn as the pattern and it was at the top of my shopping list for the EYF since I knew Victoria from Eden Cottage Yarns had a stall at the event. I ended up picking the same colour as the sample, it was the one I liked the most and the one that matched what I have in my wardrobe best.

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For this project I really embraced the whole idea of a handmade wardrobe and I am so happy that I did because the result is everything I thought it would be. Here are a few of the things I did differently from my usual way to tackle a project to make sure that this garment was something I would love to wear:

  • Swatching: I not only swatted but also blocked it and made a note of my gauge before and after blocking. This allowed me to keep track of my gauge as I was working on the cardigan, it made me realise if I was crocheting too loose or too tight that day and adjust accordingly.
  • Length adjustments: This is a top-down cardigan so making adjustments is very easy. I made the body a bit longer to make sure the ribbing finished right where I wanted it.
  • Sleeve trial and error: I made a mistake on the body at some point which meant that the pattern for the sleeves short rows wouldn’t work for me. I had to re-think the short rows to match what I had and it took a lot of charting, drawing and counting to get it to work. Once I had the math I had to work the sleeve to make sure it looked good and if not, go back to drawing again. I won’t even tell you how many times I worked those short rows until I was finally happy with the result, and I would’ve never done this if I wasn’t determined to get a cardigan I would love to wear.
  • Sleeve length: The length of the sleeves was another story, I changed the length three times on one sleeve before deciding on a long sleeve, and for each time I had to un-do the cuff to change the length but I am so glad I did because now it is perfect.

I have been wearing this cardigan a lot on the past week and have received quite a few compliments about it. First garment made with intention and it is a success! The first of many more to come…

x

Sol