Summer of Basics – The Plan

Allgemein, inspiration, knitting, recycling, sewing, vintage

I am starting the Summer of Basics make-along late, but I am ready and challenging myself to make an outfit entirely out of materials that I already own. Not buying new fabrics is hard, especially with the new Atelier Brunette collection around, but I have so much fabric stashed that needs to be used. I will also finally do things that sit in my making queue for too long, so I hope this will be a success all over! Creating an entire outfit is quite the challenge for me, as I usually just make single garments without really planning a wardrobe or matching items together. I always figure, if I like it, it will fit my style… However, this time it will be different!

img_20170703_181525.jpg

DSC03935

My plan is to make:

  • Summer pants with deep pockets from an 80s Burda magazine from a beautiful blue cotton fabric
  • A black silk shirt, for which I will recycle an old skirt from my mother with beautiful pearl buttons
  • A summer scarf from rust colored cotton yarn in a cross stich pattern

I already started the scarf and the pants, so I am quite confident I will finish my Summer of Basics-Outfit in time!

Something about Knitting Needles

Allgemein, knitting

I am almost done writing my master thesis, which means I have extra free time for knitting and sewing and new projects! But first, I want to share something that I learned the other day, while buying some wool to finish a sweater. I am currently knitting two projects on 4,5 needles and needed an extra pair. I asked in the shop, but they just had interchangeable needles from a different brand then the ones I already have. I was ready to search for simple cheap needles to finish my project in another shop… But! The friendly shop owner informed me that all interchangeable knitting needles, that use a screwed connection, are all produced by the same manufacturer (at lest in the european market, I guess…).

For me, that was such a revolutionary information! It means that I don’t have to stick to the more expensive KnitPro needle collection, but I can add other, cheaper brands to my set! I can buy exchangeable needles anywhere, and they will all fit together! Knitting can be an expensive hobby, so this is a nice way to show some ways to make it more financially accessible!

IMG_20170712_112643

The two pairs on the left are KnitPro and the pair on the right is Drops.

Just to compare: the KnitPro needle tips size 4,5 cost 5,99€, the Drops ones 4,50€. And just the colors are a bit different… 1,50€ saved that I can spend on more wool! Maybe this was not new for you, but for me, this is quite a revelation.

Anyway, of course there are other brands and systems out there: Addi needles are the only ones still produced in Germany (for the seventh generation!), and the have beautiful (but pricey) needles made of olive wood. For straight needles and crochet hooks, there are several small producers existing, some of them working with social projects, like these multi colored crochet hooks from Switzerland.

Nude Knitting

Allgemein, feminism, inspiration, knitting

Currently I am supposed to be busy busy busy writing my master thesis, but even that can’t keep me from researching knitting patterns and looking at what all the knitters out there are creating! Here are two examples that I found especially funny lately:

The „Sexy Socks“ by fiber artist Ýr Jóhannsdóttir from Iceland

img_3126-_small2

I love how these socks are mocking beauty norms. The description how to make them can be found on Ravelry.

The „Nudekinis“ from dutch knitting artist duo Club Geluk

nudekini20beentjes_def

Club Geluk is knitting everything from ham to horse sweaters and offer workshops, books and knitting patterns.

With these knits you can be dressed and still look naked, protest freedom for nipples even when it’s still cold. The possibilities are endless!

Stretching for Knitters

Allgemein, how to..., knitting

A few weeks ago I started knitting a cotton top, and simultaneously started to have pain and numb feelings in my hands and fingers – something that probably a lot of knitters, crocheters and other crafters can relate to. Maybe my hands got tired after a long season of intense knitting, maybe the texture of the cotton yarn challenged my hands in new ways… Anyway, the pain is gone now, but it left me thinking and reflecting on how I, as a knitter, can take better care of my most important tools – my hands.

I think it all starts with acknowledging the importance of my hands as my main instruments, and at the same time, accepting that they have their limitations, as do body and mind in general. I learned through many mistakes when I need to stop making (when I am getting too angry at the fabric for example…). And now I need to learn how to see the limits of power of my hands (and arms, shoulders, back…) to make sure they will enable me to make things in the future.

The most important thing for me is to change projects every now and then. From bamboo needles to metal ones, big yarn to thin yarn, from knitting to crochet to embroidery or sewing. Or even taking a break from fiber stuff sometimes and make a drawing or take photos. This gives my hands the needed change of movements to prevent them from hurting. Other things include giving myself a hand massage and using a nice hand cream.

From my days doing actual sports I still remember my favorite stretching exercises for the hands, and I took pictures to share with fellow crafters. Take a moment before or after a knitting session and stretch:

Foto am 21.03.17 um 14.12 #5

Let’s start with the easiest: curl one hand into a fist and put light pressure on it with your other hand (repeat for both hands).

Foto am 21.03.17 um 14.12 #6 #2

Same principle as above: make your palms touch each other and apply pressure.

Foto am 21.03.17 um 14.11 #2

Slightly more complicated: turn your right palm to the right side, and hug the right hand with your left hand. Your left thumb touches your right pinky finger. Apply pressure with your left thumb and at the same time pull your right thumb to the left – this creates a rotating motion. Additionally, pull your hands down. Repeat for the other side.

Foto am 21.03.17 um 14.11 #4

Again, turn your right palm to the right side and hug it with your left. Move your elbows downward and at the same time pull your hands to your chest. Repeat for the other side.

Foto am 21.03.17 um 14.12 #2

Turn your right palm to face forward and grab it with your left hand as if to shake your own hands. Rotate your left hand inwards (by applying pressure on your right pinky finger area) and move both hands upwards in a round motion. Repeat for the other side.

I hope this helps!

A New Thing: Kantan Embroidery

Allgemein, inspiration, sewing

I recently rediscovered embroidery after having forgotten about it for some time. A few years ago, when I first discovered Jenny Hart’s work at Sublime Stitching, I experimented a bit with embroidery, but I never really knew what to make out of it. The random embroidered fabric pieces went in a box and got forgotten over time.

DSC03618

In the last weeks I started noticing embroidery again, thanks to embroidery artists Tessa Perlow  and Sofia Salazar, whose modern and artistic designs tempted me so much, that I bought my own Kantan embroidery needle to try out a new (and faster) embroidery method. I like the chain stitch it produces, but I still have to figure out how to best use the needle. A embroidery hoop that can be fixed to a table might be helpful, as you actually need both hands to work.

I made my first trial piece in one sitting, without noticing how the time went past, totally captured by the work. It’s definitely better suited for continuous lines than single letters.

DSC03610

That’s a wordplay on the french word for lesbian – gouine!

My next plan is to create a shirt inspired by this t-shirt:

Hand-Chain-stitch-Swirl-Rainbow tee #grooveisintheheart

A post shared by Tessa🥝 (@tessa_perlow) on

I am using vintage embroidery thread that I had in my stash and some simple unbleached cotton.

DSC03613

DSC03611DSC03614

Patchwork Weekend

Allgemein, feminism, inspiration, recycling, sewing, vintage

This weekend I got into a serious patchwork frenzy. I recently organized my fabric stash and leftovers, and this made me want to play with all these tiny pieces that are useless on their own, but that I couldn’t bare to throw away. I started out with some little patchwork pieces that later became little drawstring bags, and then went on to make a bigger piece for a pillow case. I made use of even the tiniest piece of fabric! I also used up some leftover sleeves from vintage shirts, and it is incredible how much fabric comes out of a shirt sleeve when you cut it open! Cutting and arranging the pieces, sewing everything together was a lot of fun and actually felt more like a creative practice than anything else I have made in the last months. Maybe that’s why I can’t stop!

dsc03556

small patchwork bags that just need strings now…

dsc03553

Patchwork pillow in good company

While doing that I binge-listened to all the Have Company Podcasts, instead of watching/listening to random TV-shows as I usually do. In the podcast episodes Marlee of Have Company interviews resident artists and friends about their art, practices, how it is to be a small business owner and other things. It’s great! At the end she always asks people what they are excited about and I just wanted to write what I am excited about at the moment: A few days ago I received a little package from Little Red Tarot, including the Herbal Homestead Journal, a queer Tarot book called She Is Sitting in the Night and the beautiful Moon Angel Cards by Rebekah Erev. I am so excited about all these little things! The Herbal Homestead Journal includes simple and accessible ways of working with plants for every month and I am already looking forward of going back to this book over the course of this year.

dsc03559

The first card that I drew from the Moon Angel Cards is Nr. 5 Go!

dsc03560

I am also excited about this Coldcream from Weleda that I bought because I have these red dry spots in my face from the cold and it smells so good (and helps)!

dsc03558

Beach tee made from leftover cotton and linen

I also made two patchwork t-shirts in my Patchwork Weekend, and reused some shirt sleeves, random leftovers from other projects and small pieces of fabric from my collection. I was inspired by this woven Geodesic Top and these Wabi Sabi tees, and again, just piecing the squares together was so satisfying. I cut 30×30 cm squares from the fabric, pieced it together and then cut out the neckline, easy! I will probably make more for summer (that will come at some point… we just have to stay optimistic).

dsc03557

Patchwork tee made from all recycled silk

Cropped Cotton Sweater

Allgemein, knitting, recycling, vintage

dsc03540

I started making this improvised cropped sweater last April, and it was supposed to be done for last summer… I stopped at some point when I realized I wouldn’t finish it in time for summer, and there it sat in my unfinished projects box until I finished  it last week! Also, I have to admit that even though I really like the linen/cotton mix, I didn’t really enjoy knitting with it as it is a bit hard on the needles and to the touch.

dsc03541

I initially wanted to a cabled pattern, but in the end I decided to stick to plain stockinette, as it brings out the lovely texture of the yarn beautifully. I am wearing it on the photo with a quickly refashioned linen shirt that I picked up at my parents on Christmas. It has these great side pockets but had huge sleeves that I just cut off. Bam, new shirt! Maybe this will be my next favorite summer outfit!

dsc03542

A Black Watson Bra

Allgemein, sewing

dsc03512

The Watson Bra is something that I have been wanting to make for maybe one year now, I started trying out sizes last year and I was pretty frustrated because I couldn’t figure out the right size. I did some mistakes measuring, then I figured out a size that I thought was right and made it up in „real bra fabric“. It didn’t fit at all and it was a super frustrating experience! I realized that I normally make more loose fitting garments, and bra making really pushed me out of my sewing comfort zone, especially because I have been collecting bra making supplies in Vienna and Paris, because I found it hard to find lingerie fabric in Berlin, so I was constantly worried about wasting my precious materials.

dsc03513

Also, every single Watson Bra that people post on their blogs and Instagram looks perfect and amazing (even though some people report issues with finding the right size also…), that I really got a bit anxious to make mine. So after my big failure – the cups were just way too big – I decided to jump back on the horse a day later and make another one. With just the most simple elastic that I have and in my standard bra size! And it fits! Sometimes going the easy way takes time apparently… I will go up one cup size for the next one, as I could have just a liiittle bit more coverage there, and I think I will pull the elastic a bit under the arms to avoid side-boob-gaping (don’t know my lingerie sewing terminology…).The pattern instructions are clear and the construction simple enough for a first try at lingerie making. All in all, I think this might become a big success for my bra drawer this summer!

dsc03517

No Frills Sweater

Allgemein, knitting

dsc03535

As soon as I discovered the No Frills Sweater on Instagram, I knew I had to try this pattern designed by Mette Wendeboe Okkels of PetiteKnit. It’s the perfect pattern for a first top-down experience and some easy and straightforward knitting. After spending time on complicated and elaborate patterns at the end of last year I really wanted something simple to enjoy. The pattern gives much room to experiment in colors and I have already several other color combinations in my mind.

dsc03530

I held a light beige brushed alpaca silk and brown alpaca yarn together and I really like the result, even though I will chose more contrasting yarns for the next versions. I love the oversized shape with the fitted ribbing, perfect! It’s freezing right now here in Berlin, so this is the perfect sweater for now.

I have been wearing this sweater for one week straight and I can’t make myself take it off! I think this is the most cozy sweater I ever made…

dsc03538

Project Summary:

Pattern: 5€
Yarn: 31,50€ (on sale!)

 

Simple Wool Jacket

Allgemein, sewing

Some weeks ago I stumbled upon this beautiful charcoal grey boiled wool fabric on sale in the fabric department of my local department store, I bought some and started a truly spontaneous little project. It rarely happens that I buy the fabric and spontaneously sew up a garment in an afternoon, but when time and opportunity come together it’s such a nice feeling! No planning, no overthinking.

dsc03487

I drafted the pattern for this kimono-sleeved cropped Jacket last year and haven’t come around to test it before. The boiled wool gives the perfect opportunity for a quick project as the edges don’t need finishing or lining. I used some vintage buttons that I had in my collection – and done!

dsc03490

dsc03491

dsc03492