Monday, January 26, 2015

Reimagining Clothing: Plain Wool Cardigan

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Slowly, over the last ten years or so, I've built up a wardrobe made up of mostly thrifted, vintage, or free items. The only items I don't thrift are jeans, shoes, and undergarments, because it's difficult to find the level of comfort and fit I want unless I buy them new. Goodwill and Value Village are the source of most of my wardrobe staples - and it's pretty amazing how much quality clothing you can find, very inexpensively, from places like these. And because the garments are so inexpensive, it's an easy way to try out trends or silhouettes without a huge investment - not only that, I like the idea of giving new life to clothes that might otherwise have been discarded.

Despite the low cost of much of my wardrobe, I try to only keep items that I really love - and up until a few weeks ago, I was thinking that it was time to modify or let go of this cream wool cardigan. It has a flattering shape and color - but it's also really, really boring, and I never found myself reaching for it in the morning. At the same time, it's a great cardigan, and it seemed a shame to get rid of it.

So when I was thrifting a few weeks ago and found this stained, too-big Lands End cotton cardigan with a super cute enamel detail, I decided to spend the 6 dollars to see if I could poach the elements from one cardigan to make another cardigan more wearable. A few minutes in Illustrator, and here's what I came up with:

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I'm hoping that the addition of graphic, colorful details will turn this warm but boring sweater into a wardrobe staple.

We'll see how it goes!

Happy Monday,
Cory

Friday, January 23, 2015

FO: Plum Judy

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I've knit quite a few Swallowtail Shawls over the years. The first, I knit in three or four days while studying abroad in Japan - I still think of the echoey beige halls of the university every time I see it - and the second and third, I knit in quick succession the summer after I graduated from Oberlin. It's such a fun and pretty little pattern, I could knit it a dozen more times and be happy!

This Swallowtail, unlike the other two, was never destined to be mine. A while back, a few of my friend Sooz's shawls were tragically and hopelessly damaged, and I knew she was pretty bummed about it - and Sooz being a dear friend, a beautiful knitter herself, and and immensely knitworthy gift recipient, my knitterly wheels started turning.

So I chose this beautiful Pagewood Farms fingering weight from my stash, in a color that I had seen Sooz wear before (and that looks smashing on her), and bang - a few days into January, and I had a brand new Swallowtail! I finally got the shawl blocked and photographed last weekend, and this week, we grabbed dinner, and I gave her her new shawl. She sent me pictures after she got home that night, and it looks great on her!

For as much as I proclaim to be a selfish knitter, I get such happiness from sharing the wooly things I make. There's nothing quite like seeing a garment that you had this close relationship with as you made it, warming a person that you care about. In their own ways, knitted things become objects of connection and love - and I think that's why giving away my knits is sometimes even better than keeping them to my selfish self.

Details on Ravelry here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

WIP: Alpenglühen - A Body

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It always blows my mind a little, how terrifically hilarious a well-fitting garment looks on the hanger. Absent a 3-dimensional figure, shape-skimming darts fold awkwardly; ribbing throws great poofs of fabric into the body at the point where they meet; armholes & necklines gape and roll unattractively.

You would never know that this misshapen blob of yarn is actually a lovely, hourglass-shaped cardigan until you throw it on a person - and there the magic happens. All of these confounding shapes and crevices stretch and snuggle into place, gently hugging concave and convex curves alike. Something that was ugly comes alive, and in doing so becomes beautiful.

Although I've been shy of knitting sweaters for the last few years, watching this cardigan come together has reignited my love for the knitted garment. It's easy to get intimidated by the prospect of a badly-fitting sweater, and I think that's where I've been for a long time - but unlike so many other things in life, yarn has such give. You can knit it up all wrong, and still it has potential; all you have to do is unravel and begin again.

And that is pretty damn cool.

Happy Wednesday, friends!
<3
Cory

Monday, January 19, 2015

FO: Sekku Loop

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So far this year, I'm doing pretty well on my intention to clear out deep stash. This cowl took 12 days from start to finish, which is pretty spectacular compared to my usual scattered pace! So far this month, I've finished three projects: one cowl, one secret thing, and one pair of socks, and I'm hoping to bust out my Alpenglühen in the next few weeks. I don't really have any particular goals not to buy yarn, but I am hoping that by focusing on the pretty stuff I already own, decreasing my stash will be a happy side effect.

And if the last few weeks are any indication, it's already happening. Yeahhhh!

Details on Ravelry here.