For a few years now, my go-to workhorse backpack is the Fjällraven Kanken. Its minimalistic design, perfect size and the fact that it’s foldable and lightweight makes it the perfect everyday backpack for me. The daily use, dust, and a recent bird shit made it very clear though, that if I want to enjoy this backpack for many more years, it urgently needs some care. So against the warnings not to do it, I threw it in the washing machine at low temperature for a first cleaning. And it turned out fine! Over the years and now in the machine the fabric lost most its waterproof finish and I bought a box of Fjällraven Greenland Wax to touch it up. However, when I saw the minuscule package of wax that I had bought for 6€, I was a bit shocked.
I quickly googled how to make your own „Greenland-Style“ waterproofing wax for fabric and it turns out to be super easy and simple! I should have trusted my DIY instincts right from the start… So I send the tiny Fjällraven wax back and made my own. Here is how:
I made this Kalle crop top a few weeks ago, but with thesis work and other stuff, I just now had the time to have photos taken and to write some words about it. And I am a total fan of this pattern! It’s the first Closet Case pattern that I made, and I am completely convinced. The high-low hem is beautiful and the collar is the perfect width for me. I really like the short sleeve shape and the big pleat in the back.
The second part of my Summer of Basics outfit is done! My goal is to create an entire outfit, and now only the third and last part is missing. I am quite sure, I will manage to get the outfit done by the end of the month. My black silk shirt is cut and ready to assemble. So here is my second piece, my summer scarf! I wrote down the pattern, you can find it below or on Ravelry.
It is finally getting hot in Berlin, and very much against the season, I finished my Acorn Sweater, designed by Junko Okamoto. Starting this sweater was quite impulsively – I saw the pattern and immediately wanted to start. I thought it could be a good way to use up leftover yarn from my No Frills Sweater, and to finally use the light grey Drops Puna yarn that I had bought on sale in winter and never used for its intended purpose.
As already said in my plan for Summer of Basics, I am challenging myself to make an entire outfit. The first part is already done and ready to present! The cotton scarf is almost done, and the third piece (a refashioned blouse) is waiting to be made, but other projects came between. Now that I am D.O.N.E. with my master thesis, I feel my creative energy coming back and I plan on using this to significantly reduce my stash this summer.
But now to the pants! I used a vintage Burda pattern from a magazine from the 80s.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.