Category Archives: fashion

Craft Show Goodies

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The holidays always give me the itch to do a craft show. The snowmen are my new favorite. I had some old styrofoam ornaments and crocheted over them with white yarn. I’ve had them laying around in that state for about 3-4 years now. This year I finally decided it was time to do something with them so I made them hats, gave them those adorable faces and I am in love!

 

Knitted Slipper Sock Pattern

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Experience/Level of Difficulty: Intermediate
Measurements: One size fits most - they're not meant to be snug
Materials: Worsted weight yarn in blue, yellow, green, orange, 
purple, pink and red (or colors of your choice)
Equipment: Size 8 double pointed needles, pom-pom maker (helpful 
but not necessary) and tapestry needle.
Gauge: 4 sts X 7 rows = 1 inch on size 8 double pointed needles
Stitch patterns:  MB - (k1, yo, k1, yo, k1) into next stitch, turn;
k5,turn; 
p5,turn; 
k1, sl 1, k2tog, psso, k1,turn; 
p3 tog
With size 8 needles and blue, CO 48 sts (I cast on using a straight
needle and then knit off to the double pointed needles on my first
row, I think it's easier that way.)  
Place marker at the beginning of row and work in k2, p2 ribbing 
for 13 rows, distributing 16 sts over each needle.

Change to yellow.
Row 1 - knit across, increasing one stitch in the middle
Row 2 - purl
Row 3 - knit
Row 4 - *k2tog, yo; repeat from * to last stitch, k1
Row 5 - knit
Row 6 - purl

Change to green
Knit 1 row, decreasing one stitch in the middle
Row 1 - p6, * yo, k1, yo, p6; repeat from *
Row 2 - *p6, k3; repeat from * end p6
Row 3 - p6, *k1, yo, k1, yo, k1, p6; repeat from *
Row 4 - *p6, k5; repeat from * end p6
Row 5 - p6, *k2, yo, k1, yo, k2, p6; repeat from *
Row 6 - *p6, k7; repeat from * end with p6
Row 7 - p6, *k3, yo, k1, yo, k3, p6; repeat from *
Row 8 - *p6, k9; repeat from * end p6
Row 9 - p6, *sl 1, k1, psso, k5, k2tog, p6; repeat from *
Row 10 - *p6, k7; repeat from * end p6
Row 11 - p6, *sl 1, k1, psso, k3, k2tog, p6; repeat from * 
Row 12 - *p6, k5; repeat from * end p6
Row 13 - p6, *sl 1, k1, psso, k1, k2tog, p6; repeat from * 
Row 14 - *p6, k3; repeat from * end p6
Row 15 - p6, *sl 1, k2tog, psso, p6; repeat from *
Row 16 - purl

Change to orange and knit 3 rows
Change to purple
Knit one row
Purl one row
Knit 2 rows
Next row: k5, MB: repeat across
Knit 2 rows
Purl one row.
Prepare for heel by slipping last 12 sts of last row onto free 
needle. Knit 12 sts of 1st needle - these 24 sts are the heel.

Heel flap (change to red)
Row 1 (wrong side) - sl 1 as if to purl, purl across, turn
Row 2 - sl 1 as if to knit, knit across, turn
Work these 2 rows until heel measures 2.75 inches ending with a 
right side row.

Turn heel
Row 1 - p14, p2tog, p1, turn
Row 2 - sl 1 as if to k, k5, ssk, k1, turn
Row 3 - sl 1 as if to p, p6, p2 tog, p1, turn
Row 4 - sl 1 as if to k, k7, ssk, k1, turn
Row 5 - sl 1 as if to p, p8, p2tog, p1, turn
Row 6 - sl 1 as if to k, k9, ssk, k1, turn
Row 7 - sl 1 as if to p, p10, p2tog, p1, turn
Row 8 - sl 1 as if to k, k11, ssk, k1, turn
Row 9 - sl 1 as if to p, p12, p2tog, turn
Row 10 - sl 1 asi if to k, k12, ssk - 14 sts.

Gusset (change to pink)
Pick up 13 sts, k24 sts from holder, pick up 13 sts,knit first 
7 sts of heel flap. Slide remaining 7 sts of heelp flap onto first
needle - 64 sts.
Row 1 - on 1st ndle - k to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1
        on 2nd ndle - k24
        on 3rd ndel - k1, ssk, knit
Row 2 - knit
Repeat rows 1 & 2 seven more times - 48 sts.

Change color to light blue. 
Row 1 - knit
Row 2 - purl
Row 3 - k12, (k3, yo, sl 1, k1, psso, k3) three times, k12
Row 4 and even rows - knit
Row 5 - k12, (k2, *yo, sl 1, k1, psso; repeat from * one more time,
        k2) three times, k12
Row 7 - k12, (k1, *yo, sl 1, k1, psso; repeat from * two more times
        k1) three times, k12
Row 9 - Repeat Row 5
Row 11 - Repeat Row 3
Row 12 - purl

Change to orange (if you need to socks to be longer you can add
more rows in here)
Knit 1 row
Purl 1 row
knit 2 rows
Purl 1 row

Toe (Change to yellow)
Rearrange sts so needle 1 has 12 sts, needle 2 has 24 
and needle 3 has 12 sts.
Row 1 - 1st ndle - knit to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1
        2nd ndle - k1, ssk, knit to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1
        3rd ndle - k1, ssk, knit
Row 2 - knit
Rows 3-12 - Repeat Rows 1 & 2
Rows 13 & 14 - Repeat Row 1
knit sts from 1st needle onto 3rd needle

Kitchener stitch the to toe together. Weave in ends
If desired, make pom-pom ties and weave through the eyelet row.

Bella’s Dress

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10447866_10203240838315207_1584130504255590463_n-1-225x300My friend’s granddaughter saw a cute little crocheted dress and she wanted something similar in her size. My friend posted her request on Facebook and I took on the challenge. The fact is that the only thing this dress has in common with the original is that it has the same silhouette. Otherwise I took some big liberties and changed it around but I think for the better. The bobble hem and eyelet flower border are just right for the budding fashionista. The rainbow trim and straps add just the right amount of whimsy and the 2 x 2 rib bodice leaves room for growth. Add a t-shirt underneath in summer or turtleneck and tights in winter and you have an adorable look. I used Caron’s Simply Soft so you can throw it in the washer/dryer. Also, as my friend’s granddaughter, who’s skin is very sensitive was happy because it didn’t itch her.

Experience/Level of Difficulty: Intermeiate
Measurements: Chest - 23" Length - 20"
Equipment: Size 5 & 7 circular needle, tapestry needle. Size F 
crochet hook
Gauge: 5 sts X 6.5 rows = 1 inch on size 8 double pointed needles
Yarn: Caron's Simply Soft - Two 6oz skeins soft pink, 1 skein       contrasting color

Stitch Patterns:
Make Bobble (MB) - (K1, P1, K1, P1) in next stitch, turn, K4, turn,
K4, turn, K4 and lift 2, 3, & 4th stitch (one at a time) over first stitch and off needle.

With size 7 needles, CO 141 stitches.
Row 1 - P5 *(MB), K1 (remaining stitch of bobble), P9. Repeat from * end P5. Join (working in the round)
Row 2, 4, 6, 8 - Knit
Row 3 - P1, *YO, P2, P2tog, K1, P2tog, P2, YO, P1; repeat from *
Row 5 - P2, *YO, P1, P2tog, K1, P2tog, P1, YO, P3; repeat from *    end P2
Row 7 - P3, *YO, P2tog, K1, P2tog, YO, P5; repeat from * end P3
Row 9 - Purl
Row 10 - Knit, increase 4 stitches evenly - 145 sts.

Flower border
Row 1 - Knit
Row 2 and even rows - Knit
Row 3 - K1, *K3, (K2tog) twice, YO,  (K1, P1 K1) in next st, YO, Sl 1, K1, PSSO, Sl 1, K1, PSSO, K4: repeat from *
Row 5 - K1, *K3, K2tog, YO, K2tog, YO, K1, YO Sl 1, K1, PSSO, YO, 
Sl 1, K1, PSSO, K4; repeat from *
Row 7 - K1, *K2, K2tog, YO, K2tog, K1, YO, K1, YO, K1, Sl 1, K1, 
PSSO, YO, Sl 1, K1, PSSO, K3; repeat from *
Row 9 - K1, *K1, K2tog, YO, K2tog, K2, YO, K1, YO, K2, Sl 1, K1, 
PSSO, YO, Sl 1, K1, PSSO, K2; repeat from *
Row 11 - K1, *K1, K2tog, YO, K1, K2tog, YO, K3, YO, Sl 1, K1, PSSO, K1, YO, Sl 1, K1, PSSO, K2; repeat from * 
Row 13 - K1, *K1, K2tog, YO, K2tog, YO, K5, YO, Sl 1, K1, PSSO, YO, Sl 1, K1, PSSO, K2; rpeat from *
Row 15 - K1, *K5, YO, Sl 1, K1, PSSO, K1, K2tog, YO, K6; repeat 
from *
Row 17 - K1, *K6, YO, Sl 1, K2tog, PSSO, YO, K7; repeat from *

Knit even until work measures 14.25" or desired length. 
Decrease row - *K3, K2tog; repeat from * 36 times, 116 sts. 
Eyelet Pattern
Row 1 - Knit
Row 2 - Purl
Row 3 - Knit
Row 4 - *K2tog, YO; repeat from *
Row 5 - Knit
Row 6 - Purl
Row 7 - Knit

Change to size 5 needles and work in K2, P2 rib for 5 inches and 
then bind off.  Mark position for straps about 3 inches in from sides. With CC, and size F crochet hook, crochet around 
edges as follows: Slip one, chain 1. When you get to the markers, 
chain 30 and then slip stitch back down the chain and continue 
around top in the slip one, chain 1 pattern until you get to the 
next marker.

Crochet a chain with CC and weave in the eyelets.

Weave in ends.

Knitted Cowl

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I made this cowl out of some cotton yarn I found at the thrift store. It is the perfect complement for a denim jackt. I did a lace bobble edging and then knit the body up in a seed stitch so that it was reversible.

To get the second edging right, I had to knit it separately and then kitchener stitch it on. Now, I’m not a big fan of the kitchener stitch, I would much rather do a three needle bind off. But once I got into the grove of it, it wasn’t so bad.

 

Today in Health and Fashion

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Came across two very interesting articles today.  This one is about fashion and recycling clothes. Apparently a machine/sorter is in the works that would be able to take those discarded clothes you either throw away or give to charity and sort them by fiber so that they can be shredded and rewoven into new fabric. The article also gives some very good statistics about the inherent waste in the fashion industry.

Here’s my question – why aren’t more people trying to embrace sustainability? From where I am sitting, this is a problem that is just waiting for some creativity and innovation. New jobs, cleaner communities, healthier workers, I mean why are people fighting this? It is so ripe with opportunity. We have the technology to put men (and women) in space, why can’t we figure out a viable economic solution to the problems that are rampant in the fashion industry? Or in any unsustainable industry. for that matter.

Thanks to facebook, I saw another article today about the link between heart disease and our current diet. Read it here. I’ve overhauled my diet a lot over the past year. I rarely eat processed food. Most of my food is fresh and homemade (the closest I come to process food is my yogurt – although I must confess to a rather long stretch of eating Amy’s Broccoli and Cheese pot pies – YUM). I’m enjoying my food, I’m enjoying cooking my food and I don’t crave sweets and I even use less salt (I was a saltaholic). For me a treat is fresh, seasonal fruit or adding dates to my morning oatmeal. Anyway, it will be interesting to see in the coming years how this all plays out with big agribusiness.

 

Ode to the Scarf

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I’ve been busy getting ready for a craft show I’m doing in November. Now that I carpool (why I hadn’t hopped on that bandwagon sooner is beyond me – 2 out of every 3 weeks I sit in back and knit or crochet. It’s an extra 1 1/2 hours a day of playtime), I’ve been making much more progress.

I will be selling mostly jewelry, bags and scarves. I love making scarves. First of all, one size fits all.

Second, a scarf is the perfect winter accessory. With our mild Texas winters I find that as long as my neck is covered, I stay warm.

Third, and most importantly for me, scarves are an opportunity to play. Scarves are the jazz of the knit/crochet world. They are perfect for improvisation because they don’t take a lot of time. It’s a time to explore stitch patterns, play around with techniques and use up odd bit of skeins left over from other projects. And the end result is always fantastic.

For the purple/green crochet scarf above, I had a bunch of scraps from a miter block project that I abandoned so when I unravelled it, I use the pieces for a simple circular crochet motif and joined them as I crocheted rather than sew them all together (what a pain – I’ve done that before). I still ended up with scraps so I tied them all together to create a large ball which I will use to – you guessed it – make another scarf.

The second scarf is actually two in one. One is a deep tan and the other is cream. This is my own pattern which mimics leaves on a vine.

Scarves are little works of art and I think that they can be beautiful as well as functional.

 

Fashion Victims

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There is a new book out – Overdressed – The shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline. To be honest, I want to read the book but I’m already a convert so I don’t know if I’m willing to shell out the $13 for the Kindle version (a great Christmas gift, by the way).

 Back in 2003, Michelle Lee wrote Fashion Victim – Our Love-Hate Relationship with Dressing, Shopping and the Cost of Style, which I just finished reading. While Cline’s book seems to focus more on the manufacturing process of clothes – the pollution, exploitation of human labor and inherent waste of cheap fashion, (and not having read it yet, I stress that I am making assumptions based on reviews I’ve read), Lee’s book skims the surface of those issues and is more focused on our mentality as a consumer towards fashion. As she states in the epilogue, “Whether you rejoice over or bemoan fashion’s staying power, hopefully some of the words in this book have opened your eyes to the way fashion affects your life and the lives of others.” 

Here are some points that stuck with me from this book:

“McFashion stores will have effectively pushed originality from our closets. Eventually we’ll forget that our clothes can serve as a creative extension of ourselves. And we’ll be a society of outrageously boring dressers.”

Our culture is becoming homogenized – we eat the same foods, we buy the same clothes. We don’t want to take risks and strive to fit in. Most of us like to think we’re unique and would scoff at being called a conformist, but that’s what we’ve become. What a shame. Luckily, I think that this is starting to turn around a little bit (remember this book was written in 2003). I think the whole handmade, refashion movement is helping revitalize individuality and originality. At least I hope it is. I personally love to shop the art & crafts shows for one-of-a-kind pieces and support craftspeople.

 “It’s infinitely sad to see shopping quickly eclipsing other, more rewarding activities (art, reading, volunteering) in popularity. Something is seriously wrong when we’d rather spend three hours at the mall than with friends at the park, and when our main motivation for taking a trip across the country is to visit the hot new destination mall (which has the same exact stores you would find in your local mall – Lynn). The act of shopping may offer us temporary respite from our daily worries, but consumerism adds few lasting benefit to our lives.” (emphasis mine)

No wonder depression is on the rise. Everyone is living their lives on the surface instead of really digging deep into their relationships, passions, talents and interests. What do you get when you go shopping? A momentary high that just puts you deeper into debt. Shopping fuels the emptiness in our soul while forging meaningful relationships, doing creative work (you get to define what that is based on your passions and interests), helping others and growing as a human being by challenging yourself fill that void.

 “Fashion Victims hate to think that workers are being exploited but we love our inexpensive clothes. We feel some level of pity towards workers who earn pennies for each shirt they make, but usually not enough to do anything about it. We shake our heads at news of big name retailers caught up in sweatshop scandals but don’t stop shopping at their stores.” (emphasis mine)

Two points here. The first is: we vote with our dollars. Throughout the book Lee talks more than once about the “injustices” that the fashion industry makes and how we don’t like it but still continue to buy from the offenders. Are we just a nation of hypocrites or are we all leading unexamined lives?  Second, everyone deserves a fair wage for their contribution. If you accept the exploitation of third country workers, how soon do you think it will be before someone is trying to exploit you? It’s all connected.

 “So, can we ever know if our clothes were sewn under good working conditions? I posed the question one day to (MIT’s) Dara O’Rourke. After half-heartedly giving me the obligatory answer that some brands are better than others, he paused and conceded, ‘If you sewed it yourself, you might know.’ “

I point this particular quote out because I am a sewer. My fashion philosophy has changed a lot over my 40+ years. I used to live for shopping and had the debt and the full closet with “nothing to wear” to prove it. I understand the power of looking good but I also understand that it doesn’t just come from your clothes. It comes from knowing your values and living them, knowing yourself and being secure in who you are. I am working on making myself a real working wardrobe – clothes for work and play. Clothes that flatter my figure, are made of natural fibers, easy to care for (no dry cleaning) and classic so I can wear them for years with proper care. I am using reclaimed fibers because I want to leave a smaller footprint and the challenge of finding them is as fun for me as is actually making the items.  I want to look good, but I also have other things to do with my life – places I want to experience, relationships I hope to deepen, new things I want to learn.  I don’t want to be bothered with the endless question of “what should I wear?” and waste valuable time shopping. I want to be confident knowing that whatever I throw on will look good when I leave the house to go about the adventure of living my life.