The Fibre Co. team have all been taking part in Me Made May ’17, a challenge started by Zoe of ‘So, Zo…What do you know?’, and one of the themes that came up over and over is that of time- time to invest, time to knit, time to plan. Our team member, Emily Davidson, is talking through her recent cast on and why she is taking her time to build a handmade wardrobe.
“I am a slow knitter. Actually, I may not be a slow knitter, I wouldn’t really know, as I’ve never compared myself to anyone else, so perhaps it would be more accurate to say that my knitting time is limited. As a mum to three, one of whom hasn’t even started school yet, my making is squeezed into an hour in the evening and the odd row that I sneak in during the day, if I am very lucky and the nap stars align. Therefore, taking on a garment project for myself is a big commitment. I often envy sewers and their ability to run up a top or a dress in one afternoon. One day I would love to sew my own clothes, but I find sewing anything takes all my concentration and still makes my brain hurt a little. At the moment my making has to be something I can pick up and put down without it causing me to make mistakes. It has to be something that can survive the many interruptions in my day.
Until last year, my garment making was limited to scarves, hats and shawls and maybe a baby size cardigan. I’d never been confident enough to make a garment that needed sizing, shaping and sleeves and that I would want to wear in public, but I did want to push my crochet and knitting skills. It was the lack of what I wanted to wear in the shops that finally made me take the plunge and crochet a chunky, cable knit cardigan, perfect for those winter days, working at home, when one sweater just isn’t enough. I learnt so much by making that project, in fact I ended up, doing most of it twice, until I was really happy with it.
It’s so important that I choose the right garment to add to my handmade wardrobe, as I know it’s going to be on my needles or hook for many weeks, or if I’m honest, months. It has to meet two important criteria. It needs to be interesting to make, without being so complicated that I can’t work on it in the evening after a busy day, that probably started before 6am. But most importantly, it is absolutely vital that it is wearable. If I am going to devote so much time to making one item, I want it to be something that I adore wearing. Something that fits with my style and the rest of my clothes. My decision process always begins with what gaps I need to fill in my wardrobe. This is one of the things I love most about making my own clothes. There are so many patterns to choose from, that, as long as you have some idea what you’re looking for, it’s possible to find something that works for you personally and make it in a colour you choose.
Of course, sometimes a yarn will catch your eye and that becomes the first thing you decide upon and so it was with this project. What I really need is a mustard cardigan, but as I perused my shade cards, that are always to hand on my desk, as I work, I kept coming back to Acadia and it soon became clear that the mustard cardigan was going to have to wait. I wanted to make a piece that I could wear all year round and Acadia has such a light, soft hand, it’s perfect for autumn, as well as those chilly summer evenings. I kept being drawn to the beautiful, Summersweet colourway for the same reasons. It’s a delicate duo-tone, pale green, that doesn’t’ scream any particular season at you and so once I’d decided that I had to make with this particular yarn, I narrowed down my pattern search from there.
Olive Knits Stroll Cardigan is perfect for someone who isn’t especially confident in garment making. It has just the right amount of detail, to give some interest, but still be a simple and soothing knit. I love the top down, all in one construction, because even an advanced beginner, like myself can adjust the length of the body and arms as it knits. As someone who doesn’t enjoy and isn’t very good at joining pieces together, it is perfect.
As usual my progress isn’t as fast as I would like, but I’m knitting the body and it’s starting to look like a cardigan, which is always exciting. Most importantly, while I am really enjoying the process of making the Stroll, always, in the back of my mind, I am thinking about how much I am looking forward to wearing it. I am not sure I will ever get used to the thrill of being able to look at my clothes and decide what I need to add and be able to make something that perfectly fills that gap in my wardrobe. Perfectly fits me and is in a colour I love, without having to rely on what is being offered to me on the high street. In fact Me Made May is tingling all my senses and I predict that this year will be the year I take the plunge and finally sew myself something to wear. Until that happens I know I will have a gorgeous wardrobe staple before the summer is out, that will have been worth every hour spent making it.”
We really hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know our team of makers. You can also read all our MMMay17 posts this month here and as a special treat, we’ve launched our first series of knitting tutorials to help you with your making. Head on over to our You Tube Channel to see what videos are currently supporting our community in their knitting.