Sunday, April 07, 2013

Getting ready for a Spring

On Saturday we waved goodbye to The Girl, as she caught the train home to London-town.

My plan for the morning was to empty my wardrobe out onto the bed and perform the seasonal assessment exercise - you know the drill:  what have I got, what do I need, what needs to go.

I had already gifted The Girl my black velvet peacoat.  It was an ebay pre-loved bargain and I have been wearing it for about ten years.  It had reached the stage where I had stopped seeing it.  It was just "my jacket" and it deserved to be given a new lease of life.  On The Girl it was suddenly all hip and cool "Yeah... I borrowed it from my boyfriend" style - yay!  I knew I was creating a gap in my wardrobe, but it felt right. And it earned me (chocolate) brownie points from my daughter ; )

However, there were a few other unexpected gaps waiting to be discovered. Things that I had made and worn and washed and worn over two or three summers were suddenly looking grey and grim in the cold light of day.  My white dobby dot Portfolio top has to go.  Seriously - it cannot be worn again, it is practically threadbare in places.  Ditto my previously-white t-shirt hoodie - when did it turn grey?  Was I really wearing it in that grimy state last year?

I examined my long-sleeved tees, and the RTW ones I have been wearing all winter are on their last legs.  My Renfrews are still fine... except I can't find my caravan-curtain print one.  Where has it gone? It wasn't hanging up and it wasn't folded away.  It wasn't in the ironing basket (where I last remember seeing it) and I have this terrible lurking suspicion that it got caught up in a clutter-clearing sweep when I was throwing out a pile of old towels and sheets... nooooo!
I have no lightweight cardigans.  At allScruffyBadger has inspired me to try sewing my own, but I think the situation is critical and I might have to bite the bullet and buy a couple to see me through until I can source suitable fabric and pattern.  You are sick of my quest for ethical knitwear.  So am I.  The Maison Scotch navy cardi I bought back in August is now a shapeless bobbley mess of doom.  I am wearing it round the house but it is no longer fit for work.

I was listening to the Stash and Burn podcast the other day (episode 127), and there was a really interesting interview with Amy Herzog, author of Knit to Flatter

She talks about the differences between our grandmothers' knitting and knitting today.  About how Grandma was knitting for warmth and utility, but with a lot of creative freedom.  How the demands of a corporate dress code restricts the modern knitter.  I certainly think this is true for me.  I knit socks and shawls, rarely taking the time to knit a full-sized garment because I spend most of my life in an office or up to the elbows in mud! But if I spent more of my knitting time producing work-appropriate cardigans, I would not be in this ethical muddle.  The secret is to find interesting-to-knit office-friendly patterns: nothing too craftsy or "home-made" looking, and definitely not the great saggy baggy aran knits that attract my country magpie eye! Amy Herzog promises exactly this in her new book.  I need to check it out.


And at this point I need to confess: I have not finished my Shalder cardigan.  I have bundled it up in a bag and buried it deep in the wardrobe drawer, with only the i-cord bind-off to complete.  Why?  Because it was something I wanted to knit but not something I wanted to wear.  It is lilac cotton.  LILAC COTTON?!  What was I thinking?  The Girl identified the problem immediately:  "It looks like the kind of thing Grandma would wear".  Uh huh.  I will take it out again when I am 87 and see if I like it any better then.

Meantime... I need a plan.
Glow-in-the-dark skeleton Docs are sadly not part of it ; )


15 comments:

Caffy Bundy said...

Oh the thought of 'doing-up' them Doccers in my present pregnant state send shivers down ones spine!

I have a pair of 16 hole Oxbloods that have gathered dust since Week 18 :D

Shame about your colour choice on the Shalder, I would have loved to have seen that... Can you not knit it and then dye it, seeing as it's cotton? I don't know... just thinking as I type....


Bundana @
http://www.bundana.blogspot.co.uk

Sadie said...

I think if the Shalder was mine I would force myself to finish it and then shove it in the washing machine with a pack of Dylon in a nice bright purple. Lilac is a lovely colour, but not to wear...

One trick I sometimes use to decide if a pattern is workwear-appropriate is to ask myself it looks like something I might find in M&S. I have really gone off M&S for actually buying clothes lately, as there is far too much polyester for my liking, and their knitwear is always acrylic, but they do sell cardis in normal-weight yarns that still look perfectly normal in an office, so if you knit something that looks a bit like one of those it will probably be OK. (My mother's reaction to the first cardigan I ever knitted was 'you made that? I thought it was from Per Una!'. Which I think was a compliment...)

Lucy said...

Roo, you have spurred me into action!

Anna said...

I love those boots, but it makes me question once again why shoe manufacturers think we're no longer capable of doing up our laces. Zips break so easily, particularly in footwear and doing up laces really isn't that complicated is it, I always tied my Docs and army boots myself, do people no longer have that skill? I wonder if it's because kids shoes all have velcro now so children aren't used to having to tie their shoes (and I have just decided that my 9 yos next shoes will have laces rather than velcro, he really should learn!).

I'd dye the cardi if it's 100% cotton, as long as you pick a colour darker than the yarn you should be fine, even if you dye it black or dark grey and wear it around the house as another layer it's being useful rather than taking up cupboard space, I have several cardis that I take off before I leave the house!

Alison said...

I'd dye the cardi as well, I have had great results with dylon on 100% cotton.

If you are looking for a temporary cardi fix you could try, whispering quietly, New Look... According to 'The Good Shopping Guide' they are the most ethical high street store and have a great ethics record. I got a few of their 100% cotton lightweight cardis and they have washed and worn well.

Alison

Pam said...

Oh Roo, don't buy a cardi! There are so many lovely stylish patterns out there - I'm sure you could knit one up in no time. Even if it's just using yarn from your stash to tide you over until you come upon the 'perfect' pattern and yarn/fabric to knit or sew the cardi of your dreams!

sulkycat said...

Go and treat yourself to a copy of Amy's book, Knit to Flatter. You know it makes sense ;-) . I love mine! It had cardigans. Go on go on go on. Go on.

Cathy said...

Nothing original from me...just another vote to dye it!

acharmofmagpies said...

There are so many knitwear patterns out there I am sure you can find something that you like, and you have such skill with the needles that what you make will be gorgeous I'm sure. And, I'm adding one more vote to dying your almost-there cardi.

ashley0107 said...

Those boots are amazing! I like Bundana's idea of dyeing the cardi, it's quite a light colour so there'd be lots of options :)

Annabel Vita said...

Dye it dye it! I had a gorgeous cashmere cardigan handed down to me in a horrid beige tan shade, I dyed it a cornflower blue and the muddiness of the underneath colour made it a really gorgeous shade. Do it do it. I used dylon hand dye in warm water and it was pretty even (the instructions say to get the whole thing wet before adding it to the dye, helps keep it even).

Annie @ knitsofacto said...

I'd dye the cardi too, and I covet those boots!

(Oh my stars, those boots!!!)

Mary in TN said...

I'd either dye the Shalder or find a pattern more suited to the yarn and color. Love the boots. Have to find that book as I am always looking for tips to make my knitting a better fit.

Linda C said...

Are those your boots? What fun.

LindaC

readersguide said...

Chiming in here to say I like the Shalder, too. I hadn't even thought of dying it, but that's a good idea. I don't know -- maybe the lilac's not so bad? (I'm not 87, but I confess I own a pepto bismal pink cardigan, which I did not make. I only wear it at home. It is hideous. And yet, I like it!) It's such a pretty pattern, though! Dye it black.