Thursday, 26 February 2015

Playing dress up starts at age five and never really ends.

I mentioned back in Jan that one of my goals for this year was to create a working handmade wardrobe. I have been looking at the Coletterie wardrobe architect series to help organise my thoughts. I'm skipping to the core style section as I think the manner that who you are as a person impacts on how you dress to be a little too in depth for my purposes.

So first off how do I feel when I'm wearing my favourite clothes?

Well first off I feel comfortable. It's a bit of a non-answer but it's important. If I'm not comfortable in my clothes I'm off all day as what I'm wearing is constantly on my mind. I'm the correct temperature, if I'm too hot or cold then I'm also not focused on the day. If I'm dressed in my favourite clothes I feel confident and capable. I tend to favour practical clothing so I don't feel restricted by it. If I was wearing a very short skirt I'd be constantly concerned about flashing my undercarriage and therefore limit my activity accordingly. I'm able to take on what is thrown at me if I'm dressed how I like to be. I would feel feminine but not girly, I like masculine design features as I think they emphasise femininity without being girly.

How do I feel when it's not right?

Awkward. Limited and restricted. Huge. Although I am ok with my figure I have no particular desire to emphasise every lump and bump. I also feel very self conscious.

Who are my style icons?


All images taken from my pinterest board on the topic.

Styles I like but that don't work for me?

  • 50s full circle skirts. I love them but they make me look huuuuuugha
  • Floaty blouses. See my first point. 
  • Fun prints. I think they're so cool but I just don't like them on me. Feels costumey. 
Words that describe what I believe my style to be (or would like it to be):

  • Practical
  • Preppy
  • Neutral
  • Modest 
  • Feminine
  • Fitted
  • Masculine
  • Sleek
  • Casual
  • Laidback
  • Smart
  • Comfortable
  • Layers
  • Simple
  • Elegant
Narrowing it to just three words to work with: Layers, Simple, Preppy 

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Sometimes it's ok to take a step back and admit you're being ridiculous

Morning all,

So I frogged my knitting. Frogging is when you unravel a piece of work and so called as it's supposed to sound like a frog as you 'rip it, rip it' each stitch out.... What can I say knitters are every kind of odd that you imagine.

I may have frogged it on the basis of a slight overreaction. I spent the weekend with my friends in their new married people, grown up house with their new golden Labrador puppy. Observing me knitting my friend's husband asks 'why do you swing your working yarn like that?' he then proceeds to demonstrate a much quicker and more efficient way of doing it on his neat WIP (work in process). In my attempts to copy I demonstrate a good likeness of someone going into death spasms following electrocution.

This put my nose out. I thought I was doing ok. I still had the same amount of stitches on my needles as I started with, which considering my previous attempts where the number would vary wildly, I was very proud of. Sure I was slow but I'd managed to master knitting and purling...kinda. Now I see that I've not mastered this as all. Then the puppy got involved. Now I am slightly scared of dogs, I was bitten in the face by one as a child (totally my own fault I was trying to steal his dinner). I'm better with them now but I still don't like if they growl or snap even if they're just playing.

So when the puppy does some playful gumming I shift my hand sharpish resulting in me inserting roughly half an inch of knitting needle into my hand and snapping the needle in half. Imagine, if you will, using a 5mm circumferenced piece of wood as a cannula. Well that was me gone. Knitting is decided to be evil and the whole thing can bite me. I proceed to frog it.

Now in calm reflection looking back on it, I may have been a bit hasty. There's more than one way to do most things in life. Just because I don't knit the way people generally do, doesn't mean I'm wrong. Yes it does mean it's going to be slower and more laborious but with practice I could get to be quite quick. Really all that matters is I get an end result I'm happy with, surely?

Last night I started the same pattern but using tunisian crochet but maybe with another ball of yarn I'll cast back on. Maybe look at some tutorials on how to hold my needles properly. Maybe not let a case of gender equality and a slight impalement knock my confidence.

Do any of the knitters out there have any tips for a beginner with a cack handed hold on her needles? Also if any of you use bloglovin would you be a love and give me a follow. Soothe what's left of my damaged self esteem.

Puppy's owner would like it noted that said puppy and I are still friends. 

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Who would've thought.... it figures.

Good day ladles and gestures.

Cut pieces of my grainline duffle coat lining. 
So I was reading Karen Ball at didyoumakethat's post on tips for blogging (available here). As I'm new to this blogging lark I'm keen for any tips to make what I write worth reading and expand those who want to read it. You would not believe the excitement I get when I look at my blog stats and there's people from America reading. America! That means they're not people who know me and are humoring me. They came across this all on their own!

Tincanknits wheat scarf. Still has 35 stitches on the needles!
Why does it matter to me so much that people read? Well I guess any activity you do you want to achieve something. Though maybe it would be healthier for me, living in a world where I'm constantly having to meet some measure or grade, that I do something just for the sake of doing it. It doesn't matter whether anyone reads it it's just important to get the words out, to chronicle the things I make and the steps I took.

Jan CAL filler square 
Then maybe as Karen says the conversation is the key. Although this is something I enjoy both the crafting and blogging I'm always going to want to do it well and maybe the measure of success is the degree it engages with someone else? The numbers are irrelevant if it starts a meaningful conversation with someone then it's hit its mark.

So I leave you with one small request. If you're reading this please pop me a quick comment to say where you're writing from and the best piece of advice you got or gave. Bonus points if you're a blogger and it's blogging advice.



Saturday, 14 February 2015

Grainlines. Running through my mind.

When it comes to making things I have a tendency towards baseless optimism. I tend to throw myself into things thinking 'how hard can it be' then I start doing them and realise 'Ah. This hard.'

I've mentioned before that I consider myself to be an intermediate crocheter. In terms of my seamstress abilities I say more adventurous beginner. This does not stop me that when someone asks whether I can alter a piece of clothing; for me to generally say yes. I figure it's a good way to learn new skills that otherwise I might not acquire for myself. For example never worked with sequins before but a sequin dress needed altering so off I trot.

It is also an excellent way to send my anxiety levels up to melt down level while I panic I'm going irretrievably ruin someone's clothing. I spend a lot of the time I'm working on something for someone looking for the item on ebay in case I do make an utter pig's ear of it (there you go people, a little insight into my working process). 

That in mind when making clothing for myself it might be an idea to be aware of where my abilities lie and select patterns according. .....So I selected a pattern marked advanced. Entirely disregarding my skill and experience level, yeah let's do that.

I'm going to make the Grainline Duffle coat. I've chosen to make it in waxed cotton as I don't really like the feel of wool against my skin. I wanted it to be warm though so I'm lining it with very prettiful flannel and interlining it with thinsulate. Never lined anything before never mind interlining something, meh I'm sure it'll be fine.

There's a sew along here though I imagine as the designer has said repeatedly that this is an advanced pattern there will be a certain element of assuming you know what you're doing. Never assume I know what I'm doing. Having looking through the instructions though so far it doesn't seem to be too dissimilar to things I did in the Newcastle Cardigan and that went ok.

I also decided I didn't much like the toggles so on a pinterest wandering I came across coats fastened with buckles so I've three navy buckles to pop on. Wish me luck while I cut out 40 odd pieces from five different types of fabric (!) I'm going to need it. 

As regards Valentine's Day the fella will be playing Grand Theft Auto while I cut out fabric. This afternoon he'll go out to the football while I read up on skin lesions and the potential underlying cardiac causes. When he gets back I'll be giving him a respiratory examination including percussing the location and size of his liver because well romance. 

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Don't go chasing waterfalls

It's been emotional between this shrug and I. It feels like BBC Four should be making some sort of documentary about our 'journey'. Like an aging rockband, once massively popular, torn apart by bitterness and acrimony now back together with all of that past ill feeling just under the surface but keeping happy faces for the camera.

Am I going overboard on this slightly, being just a tad melodramatic? Nah. Our relationship has been complex and dysfunctional. She's hurt me, I left her in Hull and we had long periods of mindless and repetitive drudge that is the death of any relationship. Maybe though the fault is with me? Maybe it should have occurred to me that a month before Christmas is not a good time to decide to make a plus size waterfall shrug..... Well yes I suppose that is the root of it really. Oops.

In my defense though I didn't realise what I was taking on at the time. The pattern calls for five repeats of the pattern below the armhole and five above. That felt doable. As we got going though I had my doubts, kept holding it up thinking that it really didn't look tall enough and that it looked like it was going to end up a crop top. I ignored these thoughts thinking it was just a blocking issue.

To the uninitiated blocked is where you pull a piece of knitting or crochet taut to it's correct shape and set it with either water or steam.

Then I read the revision to the pattern, there had been an error and it actually needed ten not five repeats above and below! I know the designer felt rough about it as she about how much she hates finding erratta (errors in a pattern) here. Me being me I still managed to be in denial. I initially thought it meant length ways and being happy with the length I thought I could cheerfully ignore it. Yeah....turns out no.

I do not intend for this post to be in anyway a criticism of Kat and her pattern. It is beautiful. Look at the pretty. I really am quite proud of it.

If anything it's a testament about how much I dislike large scale repetitive projects and it's even worse doing it to a tight schedule. Ongoing plan therefore is if I do have something like this on the go to switch between it and other projects so I don't lose interest. The other would be to give myself enough time. Ha! Nearly typed that with a straight face. I will never ever give myself enough time and therefore will fall into this dysfunctional relationships time and time again. BBC Four I await my contract.