Summer Things

We’re half way through summer and we’ve just had the warmest week on record in my neck of the woods. We smashed through multiple records, including the all time record on multiple days and if I read one more sensation piece about it that doesn’t mention global warming and climate crisis I’m going to be record breaking-ly shouting words at my screen.

Anyway, since it’s mostly been too hot to knit or crawl behind the sewing machine the past few days, I’d thought I’d write and ramble a bit about what’s going on over here instead, what I’m making and the like. Basically the most old school 2009-vibe blogpost I’ve done in a long time.

This is my first summer at my new place. Technically, since I’ve only been living here since March, it’s my first time of everything here, but this is the first time I lived anywhere where I have my very own outside space! It’s just a balcony, but there is enough space to sit outside, hang my washing or block my knitting -I can’t convey to you how absurdly excited I was about this when I just moved here!- and still have some space left for pots and plants to try and grow some stuff. My mum found a bunch of terracotta pots at the thrift store for me in which I’ve planted some vegetables and herbs. Additionally, I want to plant some bee friendly plants soon and maybe a tiny(!!) patio tree eventually.

The cats of team Treehouse greatly enjoy this new development of having an outside space that is just for them: They particularity enjoy snoozing under the laundry rack, bonding with the plant pots by sitting next to them for hours on end, fighting me to sneak in some nibbles of the zucchini plant and (obviously) looking out over their territory/queendom down below them. We all enjoy looking at the many birds visiting us -although the cats and I have different motivations for this I suppose. I used to live near a forested area, and when I moved I was most sad about loosing easy access to that. I now live near to a river and lake area surrounded by shrub land however, so I’m getting a lot of water birds flying near my windows. The trade-off hasn’t been too bad!

For various reasons, I’ve really been struggling with making this year. For the most part I haven’t been feeling it. I’ve written about this on a post on my instagram. It’s ameliorated somewhat since then, and I’ve been able to get a few stitches on my needles and a couple of hours behind the sewing machine here and there most days. So I’m hopeful of possibly starting to see the end of that period.

Knitting

Still, I think it’d be nice to have a quick look at what I have been making and working on recently. If you follow me on instagram you will have seen me working on some of these already. I will update my Ravelry page later this week in case you are interested in yarn details and such. Most are still in the works and will likely get a post of their own when I finish.

Love Note

Love Note by Tin Can Knits was a bit of a wild card project for me, with the mohair and speckles, bigger needles and no colourwork or cables. This is possibly also why it worked out so well for me and turned out to be a great success. This is the fasted knit I’ve had in a while (cropped length and needle size 6 will have helped!) but more importantly this was also the most fun I’ve had with my knitting in a while. I greatly enjoyed picking and blending colours for this knit. I was never a huge participant in the speckled yarn wave, but I think they work out really well for blending colours and I can see myself using them for that in the future again. I love the deep rust coloured sample of this design so I might experiment with blending warmer and deeper colours in the future.

I cast on for this sweater during the football world cup in June and finished it while working on it while watching the matches. I’ll do a blogpost on her soon (i.e. when the weather cooperates and I don’t need to stand in an ice bath in order bear taking pictures!).

Toorie

This one is still a work in progress. It’s a colourwork cardigan from Rowan’s summer issue of this year. Most of the designs from the issue don’t really speak to me, and the cover and feel of the mag in general is possibly the blandest I’ve ever seen from them, but I like this whimsical take on the all-over cardigan. I cast on for it in April, with the hopes that the twee pattern and straight forward colourwork would get me out of my knitting rut. I have a bit of mixed feelings about the cardigan now. Initially it did get me knitting again, definitely more than I did in the months before, but then I faltered a bit. I’m still knitting on it but slowly. The hot weather we’ve been having hasn’t helped either so I’m going to wait and see how I feel about it when the weather allows me to touch wool again.

I’m using deep stash yarn for this project, which is why the rabbits are so bright blue!

Argil Top

This is my most recent cast on. It is my first foray into summer yarns in a long while and my first time ever knitting an unabashedly summer garment. It apparently takes a week long of high 30’s weather and a couple of days above 40 degrees to make me crack and order some linen to make a tank top. It’s going to be the Argil top from the latest Pom Pom. I’m really excited to see how this goes!

After having knit with it a couple of days my main take away from this project is that balls of linen start disintegrating on eye contact. Linen can be a bit hard on the hands, but the knitted fabric feels very nice, airy and lightweight. So perfect for knitting in the weather we’ve been having.

Sewing

I’m currently finishing up a Myosotis dress by Deer and Doe in rust coloured double gauze. This is one of those patterns that really took the sewing world by storm last year and I was curious to see whether the pattern and finished project would meet expectations. I traced the pattern on some of the hottest days of the year we had up until then, a few weeks ago, and subsequently sewed most of it last week when we broke not only this year’s, but our all time weather record. I still need to hem it and sew on the buttons and then she is good to go. I’ll take photos of her soon and will tell you more about her then.

Braugust

Are you all familiar with #Braugust instagram challenge? It’s a month long photo-a-day challenge focusing on bra making and swimwear founded and hosted by Ying from Tailor Made Shop. I haven’t participated before, but I remember following along last year. It was definitely a push for me give form to my bra making aspirations instead of continuing to keep them vague far away goals.

Anyway, since I have a couple of bras under my belt now I thought it might be nice to participate. It’s been a while since I participated in any challenge anyway and it will be nice to connect with some other bra makers. I can already tell you that I won’t be posting everyday and the prompts that I do will be spread over grid and story posts on instagram. I’ll also try to get another one of my handmade bras up on the blog this month in honour of Braugust. So I hope you are excited for slightly more bra content than usual from me (and for ghostly floating bra pictures).

Reading

I usually read a mix of fiction and non-fiction, and one of the things I have been reading this summer is Folk Fashion by Amy Twigger Holroyd. I know the book has been making waves among makers and textile fans, so some of my thoughts on the book. Overall I’m enjoying reading it and it has prompted some lengthy talks and discussions with some of the people in my life and that’s always a good thing.

I’ve read about two thirds of the book at the moment of writing this. I particularly liked the parts that discussed the connection between fashion and identity and the choice fallacy of fast fashion and the role of capitalism within that narrative. This is something I regularly think about within the makers community as well, and increasingly so for the past year. I would have liked to see it explored more with a focus on the commercial side of the maker community as well. I know that our craft community is pretty vibrant and changes can happen quite fast, but I’m seeing more conversations around this topic in the making community.

It is the only book I’ve read that explores personal meaning and identity derived from making and I think some of the things mentioned in the book speak to us all. My main fib with the book is the assumption that whereas in the past societal and affiliations were as good as fixed through gender, race, and class, today’s reality is much more fluid and identity more complex consisting of a multitude of meanings. Now that statement in itself is quite open, but then an paragraph later Holroyd states that for most people leisure, lifestyle and possessions have become much more important than factors such as religion. – yeah, I have a lot of problems with such a statement to be honest and speaks of  a kind of privilege that makes you able to say that these identity markers are less significant now.

My identity as a maker influences virtually every part of my life. This is why I connect to makers online. Yet I also have a lot of personal and distinctly differentiating factors that influence and intersect my identity as a maker that make me different when I go to a craft related gathering. I know this now, and I think a lot of crafters have become more aware of this in the last 8 months, but I also knew this to be true when I visited my first knit group over 10 years ago.

Related to this is that her main knitting group, that is “the foundation of her research” represents a stunningly narrow demographic of knitters. It never explicitly mentions any background other than age and where they live (which fine, because I don’t need some arbitrary tick off list of diversity boxes) but I kept looking for things, answers and experiences that would speak for themselves to the differences in experiences. Holroyd herself does mention in the introduction that the demographic is narrow, which is why she supplement them with input from “a knitting tent” which she takes to festivals where people could write their thoughts about prompts on a card. Apart from the limited scope of depth anyone can provide on a small card, this also operates under the idea that festival goers are a broad spectrum of diverse backgrounds which in my opinion is not necessarily the case. The tag cards mostly seem to be included to reinforce the point she was already making (which is possibly another sign that her diverse group of people was not actually that diverse).

I’m open to the possibility of my criticism being addressed further on in the book, but it does bother me. I do think that this is another one of those things that had she written the book in 2019 she would have undoubtedly been more aware of. All of this makes me sound quite negative about the book, but as I said overall I find it thought provoking and an enjoy reading it

So that my summer so far. I hope you are all well and are enjoying the sense of freedom and possibility these summer months bring.

See you soon!

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