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

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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

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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!

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!

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small patchwork bags that just need strings now…

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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.

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

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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)!

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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).

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Patchwork tee made from all recycled silk

A Weekend in Paris

Allgemein, feminism, inspiration, knitting, sewing, vintage

Last weekend I was so lucky as to spend a few days in Paris with my girlfriend and besides enjoying the time together and stuffing us with viennois chocolat and brioche I got the chance to dive in the magical world of Paris fabric shops and find some new treasures and supplies.

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The first stop was La Bien Aimée, a tiny wool shop that sells hand-dyed yarn and an exquisite choice of magazines. I couldn’t resist buying the Stitching Up Paris guidebook of sewing and knitting stores in Paris, it’s a really great and updated overview and very tempting.

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The area around the Marché St. Pierre is definitely my favorite! It is situated on the quiet side of the Sacre Coeur and there is a beautiful café in the old market hall.

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I got a flashy blue Field Bag at La Bien Aimée! I currently hosts my almost finished No Frills Sweater. I found some beautiful leather pieces at Sacrés Coupons, some lingerie elastic at Tissus Reine and fabric at Dreyfuss. I can’t wait to sew some mini pouches and finally make a Watson Bra. The shops are all in Montmartre, it’s really nice! You can’t miss anything…

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Beautiful vintage buttons from La Bien Aimée.

And last but not least… The feminist bookshop! I went to the queer feminist bookshop ChickLit in Vienna and since then I am constantly on the hunt for more of these amazing places. Berlin doesn’t have a feminist or queer bookshop (shocking! I know! I should open one…), so every time I am in another city I try to find one. Violette and Co is a great little shop with an exhaustive french-international selection of books (no English books sadly…) on all things feminism. I got a great book on lesbian separatist communes in the US (so hard to find books on that in Germany!), two issues of revue WellWellWell, an excellent and entirely volunteer-run lesbian magazine and two issues of the Barbi(e)turix fanzine. On Saturday evening we went to the Wet For Me (organized by the Barbi(e)turix team), and that was hands-down the best lesbian party I have ever been to. What a successful weekend!

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Bye 2016…

Allgemein, feminism, inspiration

The year is over, it’s the time to look back but also forward, to pause and to think a bit. 2016 has been a crazy year, being in Budapest, arriving back in Berlin, starting my first „real“ job, searching for a flat, not finding one but another room in a shared flat instead, unraveling a home and arriving in a new one, losing friends over it but also meeting new ones. I have been to great places, Vienna, Ile d’Oleron, Estonia, hiking in the Harz mountains… I made many things that I also wrote about here! I started thinking about this blog about this time a year ago and I am quite proud that I kept doing it, more or less regularly. I am happy to have a little record of what I have been making. I would have never really thought anyone besides my girlfriend and maybe some close friends would read this and be interested! And then actually more than 1000 people read my post about the DIY period panties so far. 1000! That’s a lot!

There is a lot to write about 2016, and many people will do it better than me. I just want to close with some photos of one of my favorite moments of this past year. It included making t-shirts and banners with friends, dyke march, sunny weather, being creative together, community and amazing women.

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creative chaos

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dyke march Berlin, 2016

DIY Period Panties: The Review

Allgemein, feminism, sewing

A nice commenter reminded me the other day, that I promised a review of my homemade period panties, so here it is!

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All together, the panties are holding up nicely after about six months of use. With the special mission of testing them and writing about it, I paid extra attention when I wore them during my last periods. The lighter one I made, that just has an extra layer of jersey fabric lining the crotch is really nice to wear but – as expected – doesn’t hold up much blood. It is still way better than a normal underpants in my opinion, as it is still holding up some drops here and there.

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underpants with cotton batting layer, inside out

The underpants that I lined with a layer of cotton quilt batting underwent and passed a more serious test: An entire morning went by with a cup that was not sitting right and therefore leaking quite a bit, and I wasn’t home or in reach of a toilet. When I arrived home after a few hours I had to change it immediately, but the underpants protected my jeans! Another plus: It really doesn’t feel wet or uncomfortable.

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So my review is: I am quite convinced! There is still room for improvement though… I definitely need to make more period panties so I can wear them for a few days and I would like to experiment with layering materials. My version right now holds up for a day of minimal leaking or a few hours of leaking that would have caused a bloody drama otherwise.

DIY Christmas Wish List: Butchcraft

Allgemein, feminism, sewing

This year I have two books on my wish list for christmas and they seem to follow a topic: Butchcraft. They feature practical outdoorsy projects, lots of (handmade!) tools and beautiful photographs. They are a nice surprise in a sector that is mostly considered feminine, and a great addition to The Manly Art of Knitting. There are many exciting patterns out there with an androgynous, menswear-inspired or outdoor feel, like the new Kelly Anorak pattern, the Cooper Backpack or the classic Archer Button Up. It is nice to have some more butch patterns in book form now!

Here we go!

Molla Mills: Crochetterie – Cool Contemporary Crochet for the Creatively-Minded

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Molla Mills, the reigning queen of crochet, has outdone herself again in her latest book. Her designs feature lots of typography, geometric patterns and great colors. What I am very excited about is, that Crochetterie features the instructions on how to carve your own crochet hook! This is right up my ally – making literally everything, even the tool you use! She also writes about how to stretch your hands and body after crocheting, a great addition for this risk group for carpal-tunnel syndrome… I cross my fingers that this book will make it under the tree this year, maybe I will be able to show you some crochet projects in 2017 (I think the last crochet project I finished was a yellow mouse in primary school…)!

Anton Sandqvist: Heavy Duty Sewing

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One of the founders of the Swedish backpack company Sandqvist seems to be a passionate maker, as a side project he has published a book on how to make functional and beautiful accessories yourself and sells the fabric you will need in a small online shop. The style is similar to the ready-made bags and backpacks they sell, colorful, with leather details and a simple, timeless design. Sadly this book exists only in Swedish so far, but I have asked, and apparently an English publisher is interested in translating it. But to be honest, the book looks so great, I would be totally ready to google translate my way through it (and focus on the photos…)! If non-Japanese people are buying Japanese knitting patterns, then Swedish should be doable, no?

 

Maybe you are inspired to gift one of these to yourself or your favorite crafty butch?! I am just ignoring, by the way, that Molla Mills‘ book is dedicated to the crafty men in her life and doing a queer reading of Sandqvist’s work. Admit it, both books have a very dykey feel to it 😉 I am very convinced the outdoors, practical crafts and crafty adventures are not just for guys and women in general are very underrepresented in this field, just like the creators of Misadventures Magazine (another great gift idea by the way!). I get, that it’s interesting for (small) creative businesses to open up and directly speak to another demographic, but wouldn’t it be even greater to smash these stereotypes?

Anyway, for now I will keep my fingers crossed that both books will find their way in my christmas present corner, so I can hopefully present you some good Butchcraft in the new year! Maybe I will collect my thoughts on arts, crafts and gender for another time…

 

How to Make Longer Jeans Pockets

Allgemein, feminism, how to..., recycling, sewing

We all probably know these nice women’s jeans, well fitting, nice color… But then the usual disappointment: A move with the hands to the pockets – they’re tiny (or even worse: fake)! So tiny that your hands don’t even fit as fist, not even considering keys, phone or a wallet.

So I have these jeans, and the pockets don’t even fit the first half of my fingers. To make them more wearable I decided to give them an easy and invisible makeover (This also works for pockets that are ripped, have holes or a re worn out!):

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This is how far my hand enters! Ridiculous!

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Tiny pockets from the inside.

Step 1

Cut off the bottom seam of your pocket in a straight line, the pocket is now open.

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Cut along the bottom of the pocket.

Step 2

Chose a nice non-stretchy fabric you have leftover from another project, you don’t need much. Measure the width of the pocket opening, and how much length you want to add to your pockets. You can do this by measuring your hands, your phone or the pockets of another pair of jeans that are big enough.

Step 3

Cut your new pocket rectangles from the fabric (add seam allowances!) and start by sewing the rectangles to the bottom of the original pockets. It doesn’t have to be especially beautiful, you won’t see the pockets from the outside of your pants.

Step 4

Close the side and bottom seams of your new pocket and finish the edges as desired.

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New pockets!

Step 5

Try on and enjoy! Bury your hands in your new pockets! Stuff everything you need inside! No more annoying handbags at parties!

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This is how far my hand fits now! Success!

Guest Post: How a piece of clothing changed my life

Allgemein, feminism, inspiration, vintage

Exciting times! This is the first time someone else than me is writing on my blog! Eve asked me to write about her favorite jacket, so here we go:

Really honored to be a guest writer, thank you Clara, for giving me the chance to write about my best clothes experience of 2016!

For years I was looking for a jean jacket, but couldn’t find THE ONE. Too big, too short, the blue is too dark, the fabric is not nice, it is too expensive… As you can see, I was picky, but one day the perfect jean jacket crossed my way and since then we are inseparable.

Helsinki, July 2016. On an empty street, shortly before catching the ferry, stood a second hand shop. This is where I fell for what became MY jean jacket.

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One day wearing it and I wondered what I did all these years without it. I discovered the joy – yes the joy – of stuffing my money and my Opinel in the front-right pocket, and my keys in the front-left one. I can even put my smartphone in the pocket inside and still use my side pockets to put my hands when I don’t know what to do with them.

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All of that and still looking stylish!

This is truly a revolution for me, a woman who grew up in a society where fashion is constantly disabling women. Countless pants and jackets without pockets (or worst: with fake ones), sweaters too short and too thin so that women can be cute, but cold the whole Winter. Shoes not made for walking and so on.

BUT time of carrying wallet and keys in a bag is O-V-E-R! I feel independent and free in public space by simply having everything I need at hand. The fear of pick-pocket in the subway is also over. If I have to run for my life, I don’t have to worry for my bag anymore.

AND I slowly learn to take the strict necessary: money-keys-phone, the three winners in a good old jean jacket!

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all photos by Eve Jégou

DIY Period Panties

Allgemein, feminism, how to..., sewing

Update! You can find a review no on how these held up.

A recent bloody disaster in the office, produced by a leaking menstrual cup, brought my thoughts back to period underwear. Not the one that every woman (or bleeding person, for that matter) supposedly has, in opposition, I guess, to sexy underwear or something. I do not own special period underwear, it all looks more or less the same and my washing machine works fine enough to clean the blood stains. However, after said morning in the office the need for some more protection entered my mind.

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There are several commercially available products out there that made the news in the last years. First and probably most famous the Thinx underwear line, that is supposed to absorb up to one tampon’s worth of blood. Sadly, they do not have resellers in Europe, and after some horrible experiences with shipping fees, picking up packages at the customs control and paying the German VAT on top, I am reluctant to order things from the US. Also, in general, I love a good experimental DIY approach to things, and in this spirit I started my own period underwear project. If you are interested, there are several other DIY period ideas, such as handmade menstrual pads and crocheted tampons…

This sewing project is not really suitable for total beginners, but can be easily adapted for less experienced sewists. What you need is a dark stretchy jersey fabric with matching thread, preferrably with a four way stretch, underwear elastic (I used foldable elastic), a sewing machine and a small piece of some sort of absorbent material. For this I used some leftover cotton padding that I had from a quilting project, but hemp and bamboo are supposed to be an even better absorbent. This is a quite basic construction, and with respect to the characteristics of the fabric you might want to use another leak-proof layer. Out of the urgency of the project, I used what I had in my stash.

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Start with your normal underpants pattern. You can trace your favorite pair or use a free pattern, such as the one by MakeBra. Assemble the pieces, but do not attach the elastic around the edges. Try on your almost-finished underwear and measure the length of the crotch lining. This should be a few centimeters longer than a standard crotch lining. Cut the lining pieces from your fabric and the absorbent lining.

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I made one pair with just another layer of cotton jersey and one with a piece of cotton padding, that I quilted to the top fabric layer for safety. Hem the front and back edges of the lining and pin it in place. I sewed the front and back edge to the panties with a zigzag stitch, to keep the seam elastic. For elastic fabrics and especially underwear, using a ballpoint or jersey needle is a good idea, as it does not break the fabric and avoids creating holes. The final step is finishing all the edges with elastic. And done!

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I will continue testing my DIY period underwear, but so far it held up some minor bleeding, and washed out really well in the machine. Tell me how it goes for you and leave me recommendations for DIY period supplies in the comments!

Feminist Knitting Patterns!

Allgemein, feminism, knitting

One of these sunny but still fresh spring days you might find yourself in need for a good, feminist outfit. You have you witty t-shirts ready, but at least where I am right now, it’s not really t-shirt weather yet. So what to do? The answer is a hand-knit sweater/hat/scarf with the message of your choice! You will be ready this time when there is unexpected cold weather just in time for pride…

The other day I read this really nice article „Ten Knitting Patterns for Crafty Feminists“ on The Toast, which has great examples for knitted accessories with feminist messages. However, I am more looking for sweater-inspiration, as there is much more space to get creative. So I did some research and came up with the following:

The Woman’s Woolly

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image via feministbookclub.wordpress.com

I first saw this image on @h_e_r_s_t_o_r_y’s Instagram, which is already an amazing source of inspiration, and then later read more about it on The Feminist Bookclub. I am sure this sweater would be quite easy to replicate using a simple sweater pattern and inserting a self drafted band of women’s symbols!

The Feminist Sweater

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image via the thestylerookie.com

Read more about Tavi Gevinson’s iconic Feminist Sweater over on Style Rookie, and how she got it from Bikini Kill’s Kathleen Hanna. To recreate it exactly, you would probably need a knitting machine, but I saw several images of people with simplified, hand-knit versions of the sweater. More work than the Woman’s Woolly, but also more impressive, I would say!

Everything by Artist Lisa Ann Auerbach

 

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image credit: Lisa Ann Auerbach

The US-american artist is creating sweaters that talk back since 1994, and they cover a wide range of topics from bike lanes to Barack Obama to the war in Irak. You can see all of her work on her website lisaannauerbach.com. It’s fascinating! She even made a zine on the similarities in styling and posture of bondage and knitting pattern magazine photo shoots.

If you prefer to knit your Feminist Sweater with an already existing pattern, I found some great stuff on Ravelry:

Rainbow Mosaic Baby Sweater by Betty P Balcomb

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image credit Betty P Balcomb

Misandry Hat by Glitz Knits Boutique

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image credit Glitz Knits Boutique

Wonder Woman Sweater by Natalie Bursztyn (and it’s for free!)

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image credit Natalie Bursztyn

Now dare someone say knitting isn’t political!!!