Why I’m Not Participating in Slow Fashion October

Why I'm Not Participating in Slow Fashion October | knittedbliss.com

I have mixed feelings about slow fashion October. I absolutely love that Karen is making sure to remind people that it isn’t about judgement and that it’s all about taking a more considered approach to what we buy and wear. Especially since many of us reading it are crafters who have the skills to create items for our wardrobes. I’ve loved the posts written by friends out in the knitting world about beloved items they have treasured, things they were so proud to make, and what they have accomplished by upping their crafting skills to produce beautiful, wearable garments.

It feels like the cool girl club, SFO. Even though it isn’t marketed as such- and there are loads of really insightful comments that I totally agree with in the link above, where Karen lays out the scope of SFO that is meant to be very inclusive and non judgmental. But I don’t see that inclusivity reflected back. 

This isn’t a critique on Karen. I think she is awesome and I love seeing women crushing it out there. I have a lot of time for women doing the things they love and making it work. It’s just almost inevitable, when you start a movement – and slow fashion October is indeed a movement – that not everyone is going to be included. It’s hard to have a movement that fits everybody. And if there’s a group of people that knows one size does not fit all, it’s those making their own garments. 

 

A lot of important conversations are happening about where wool comes from, about the practices, breed varieties, and these are all really good conversations to have. I love wool – wool that feels like it’s barely off the sheep and still has bits of straw in it. I can even wear it up against my throat, it doesn’t bother me. Wool has never felt scratchy to me. But my tremendous love of wool, of supporting small batch yarn, local farms when possible, and (when I’m in England) local UK yarns; doesn’t preclude plant fibers, or blends of man made fibers. There’s room in my knitting world for all sorts of yarn. Big brands, indie brands, no brand at all. I like to mix it up. 

There’s something to be said for checking in on craft store yarn from time to time. It is ground zero for where the majority of knitters buy their first yarn. For those in lower income brackets, it’s where they are still buying their yarn. While it’s important to consider where our yarn is made, and what it’s made from, it’s also important to remember that these aren’t considerations that everyone can afford. 

So I thought for slow fashion October, I’d go the other way with it- what are the big brands putting out these days? What yarns are hanging out in the aisles to entice occasional knitters, or new knitters? I’m rebellious that way. If there’s a bandwagon, I’m heading in the other direction.

May I present the opposite of Slow Fashion October (although I suppose maybe I am participating in Slow Fashion October? Can you be unintentionally participating?) … a totally experimental crescent shaped shawl I knit with a single skein of Lion Brand Shawl in a Ball that has no animal fiber in it whatsoever, and even has (gasp!) acrylic. This is the Calming Desert Colourway:

Why I'm Not Participating in Slow Fashion October | knittedbliss.com
There’s no pattern, I was experimenting with the yarn and wanted to see what it looks like as a simple, stockinette crescent with a bit of ribbing at the hem. I increased a bit too much though, and ended up with a C shape shawl, but that’s okay. The yarn is extremely lightweight and is comprised of 58% cotton, 39% acrylic, and 3% polymide (the website says ‘other’, but I emailed and asked. Knitters everywhere are so helpful!). I love the flecks of white throughout. 

Why I'm Not Participating in Slow Fashion October | knittedbliss.com

It’s pretty, soft, lightweight, and I really enjoyed knitting it. I imagine I’ll get a lot of wear from it, even though I needed a shark like I needed a hole in the head. It’s a single skein project and the skein costs $9.99 US ($12 CAN). It’s never been anywhere near a sheep, and that’s okay. If you are allergic to wool, on a tight budget but need to get your craft on, or want to knit something pretty for a friend who is addicted to their tumble dryer, then this yarn is for you, my friends. You can probably get it at any big craft store. Or online.

Why I'm Not Participating in Slow Fashion October | knittedbliss.com

You are still a knitter if you can’t afford the small batch artisan wool photographed on the reclaimed barn wood planks (does everyone else out there have a reclaimed barn or a perfectly weathered wooden patio for their photos except me?). If you buy your yarn from Knit Picks, Lion Brand, Rowan, or Berroco. If the cost of your hand knit sweater was only $40. There’s room at my lunch table for knitters who can’t afford the $25 skeins of yarn, or are only able to knit with them sometimes. That’s okay. I’m not a yarn snob. You can totally sit at my lunch table. Here’s a chair. 

  The ideas behind slow fashion are relevant all year long, and I hope that slow fashion October brings about more awareness for all of us on the choices we make when we buy. But as Karen always says, slow fashion isn’t about wearing our judgey pants. I might be loosely paraphrasing. But you get the gist. 

(disclaimer: this is only one facet of a huge conversation that has a lot of overlapping points of contact. I could also write a post about all the reasons you shouldn’t knit with acrylic, or why we need to only use small batch rare breed sheep wool, or why we need to support fast fashion but pester big brands for more accountability on their supply chain, etc. Also, I’m totally knitting with a small batch local yarn on one of my current knits in progress. Not sure if that makes me a hypocrite or a yarn omnivore.) 

p.s. Wonderfully wise words about knitting with wool when you are starting out from Clara Parkes, and the so-darn-smart-and-awesome-I-totally-want-to-be-her-friend designer Bristol Ivy talking about the privilege that needs to be remembered during SFO

Oh, and p.p.s – here’s a hilarious boomerang Guy took of me doing the salmon while wearing this shawl

 

Modification Monday: Sea Salt Pralines

Modification Monday: Sea Salt Pralines | knittedbliss.com

Original Patterns: Pralines and Savoy Truffle

Knitter Extraordinaire: Rebecca (Ravelry ID)

Mods:  Rebecca couldn’t decide between two shawl patterns, so she decided to combine them both! Project page can be found here.

What Makes This Awesome: It happens to all of us- you love both patterns, and can’t decide which one to knit. But Rebecca got clever, and decided she would use elements from both of the shawl patterns she wanted to knit and combine them into a single shawl. While this concept could really work for any two shawl patterns, It helps that they were somewhat similar from the outset. Rebecca could then use all the parts she liked best of each to make her shawl exactly the way she wanted. So, my fellow knitters, consider this- what two shawl patterns do you love, that you think would look positively smashing mashed up together into a single shawl? Sometimes if you can’t decide, the answer is to knit them both into one!

Modification Monday: Sea Salt Pralines | knittedbliss.com

Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This week

 It’s been a weird week for me, as my smartphone completely died and took with it a LOT of photos that I hadn’t backed up. I mentioned it on my last post, but I’m really not over it. I’ve been writing a post all week that was supposed to go with photos that are now lost and I’ve been resisting retooling it, resisting letting go of those lost photos. Not just knitting photos … family photos, photos of the kids. But lesson learned- I will be backing up photos to the cloud as soon as I get a new phone! Guys, if you have a lot of cell phone videos or photos that are precious to you, please learn from my mistake and back them up.

On to some better news!

The winner of the amazing Berroco Yarn and pattern giveaway is…. Karyine!! Karyine, I’ll be in touch shortly to get your address!

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week

This Instagram account features famous works of art as taking selfies. Hilarious!

If you enjoy precision typing, then this game is for you. It’s oddly addictive, so set aside some time if you are going to play!

Lately I’ve been having a hard time falling asleep at night. If you are struggling with falling asleep too, here’s 5 tips to help fall asleep faster. I’ve been implementing them for the last two nights, and it is working.

So…. Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature. This is a bold new move for the Nobel prize – it’s never been awarded to a songwriter before. I’m not sure how I feel about it.

My Favourite Pins This Week

Pin Ups and Link Love: Stuffed Halloween Peppers | knittedbliss.com

I’m not the biggest Halloween fan, but these jack-o-lantern style stuffed peppers are pretty freaking awesome! And key, if it wasn’t Halloween, you could just use the recipe and not carve a little face into the peppers. The stuffing? An amazing slow cooker shredded taco chicken and rice filling, easy-peasy and very delicious. Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe post can be found here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Chocolate Turtle Apple Slices| knittedbliss.com

Guys, you know what I’m like- if there’s fruit involved, then I’m confident it is a healthy treat.  Even though there’s enough chocolate and caramel on this to pretty much nullify the nutrition… and so very seasonal! Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe post is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Embroidered Sweater DIY | knittedbliss.com

I love embroidery on sweaters, and this is a great tutorial on how to embroider a word or phrase on a sweater- either store bought or one you knit yourself, all with using the chain stitch. Pinterest link is here, and the original tutorial can be found here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Painted Pencils| knittedbliss.com

Feel like your pens or pencils are looking a little blah? Turn inexpensive pencils into something fresh and pretty by painting them. I love the tiny polka dots! Pinterest link is here, and the original post is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Puppy in Sweaters | knittedbliss.com

One of my favourite things about the cooler weather? I adore seeing dogs in sweaters. If it’s cold enough for you to wear a jacket, then the puppy needs one too! Presuming it’s a short hair, that is. I imagine huskies and other furry pups don’t quite need the same sweaters. Sadly I cannot find the original post, but here is the Pinterest link.

Have an amazing weekend, my friends! I think we are going to get a pumpkin. Or several pumpkins. I might spend the weekend looking at fun pumpkin decorating ideas, since I hate carving them – a very long time ago I volunteered at an art gallery that had a Halloween fundraiser, and one of my jobs was to carve over 40 pumpkins that lined the walkway leading up the gallery. It looked amazing, but I had an actual bruises on my palms from scraping the insides clean and carving them. Haven’t carved a pumpkin since. But I like the idea of painting them!

Giveaway and Knit in Progress: Berroco Tuscan Tweed

Berroco Tuscan Tweed Harebell | knittedbliss.com

Ravelry project page is here.

I am actually knitting a sweater, guys! Meet Harebell, a simple top down cardigan that I suspect is about to become the cornerstone of my casual fall and winter wardrobe. I’m knitting it in Berroco Tuscan Tweed in ‘Laurel’, which is suddenly my new favourite kind of green – it’s a grey green, soft and muted. It has small flecks of off white and cornflower blue mixed in, and the result is somehow completely uniform and gives it a heathered appearance.

Berroco Tuscan Tweed Harebell | knittedbliss.com

So, let’s talk about the elephant in the room – these photos. Not up to my usual snuff! Indoor photos at night are no fun, and my knit-in-progress photo game isn’t strong to begin with. My smartphone completely died a few days ago and took with it several photos of knits in progress, for this and another knit.  Guess who doesn’t back up her photos to the cloud …. clearly I should. I just got a temporary phone today (looking forward to testing out the camera – these photos were taken with a DSLR), but have spent the last 3 days utterly phone-less. I missed Instagram the most.

Lately I’m craving sweaters. Real, cozy, honest-to-fall sweaters that make me feel like I’m being hugged by a sheep. Some might feel that a big stockinette cardigan is a bit dull, but I’m loving it. Simple sweaters are often the ones we reach for the most, I find. Knit in the round from the top down, I’ve only made two modifications – to add a faux seam on each side for stability and structure, and I’m just about to modify the hem to be split. Because ever since this top, I’m obsessed with split hems.

Berroco Tuscan Tweed Harebell | knittedbliss.com

This Friday, a Tuscan Tweed knitalong (or crochetalong!) kicks off! The ravelry group has juuuuust started, and there’s plenty of time to join even if you don’t get your yarn sorted on Friday. Here is where they are talking about the knitalong (or crochet along!) on the Berroco blog.

You don’t have to knit one of their patterns, you can knit anything you want. I’m planning on joining officially for a single skein project (in the colourway ‘Cherries’), either a hat for James or mittens for me. We’ll see how greedy I’m feeling come Friday! The KAL goes until November 30th, so lots of time to join, or knit a bigger project like a sweater. Come join us!

Would you like to win some yarn to get a little kick-start on the KAL? One lucky duck is going to win ALL THE YARN required for the Berroco pattern of their choosing!!

Berroco Tuscan Tweed Harebell | knittedbliss.com

To enter:

  1. Check out the new Tuscan Tweed Collection and the new yarn colours for Berroco Tuscan Tweed
  2. Leave me a comment letting me know which pattern is your favourite and which colourway you would love to knit it in!

Contest closes at 10 p.m. Eastern time this Thursday, October 13th (that’s tomorrow, my friends!). Winner will be announced Friday morning. Good luck everyone!

Modification Monday: Orza

Modification Monday: Orza | knittedbliss.com

Original Pattern: Orza Pullover

Knitter Extraordinaire: Rebecca (Ravelry ID)

Mods: Modified the original pullover to be a zip front hooded cardigan with pockets. Details can be found on her project page, here.

What Makes This Awesome: The original pattern is beautiful with thoughtful details and the cool asymmetrical striping on the arms; but it’s so interesting to see it worked up as a hoodie! Rebecca kept the texture and the stripes consistent throughout, and echoed her colour choices along the zipper band to great effect. The result makes it look very comfy and more casual, and also easier to layer on when the weather turns a bit chilly. A gorgeous mod!

Modification Monday: Orza | knittedbliss.com