Sunday, April 26, 2015

Camp Fire Scarf - pattern

I think there's nothing more awesome than a garter stitch scarf. They remind me of learning to knit, a time where more challenging things like purling didn't exist, and of not having to really think too much on the project at hand. Sometimes we all just need a simple project that doesn't take too much brain power but still creates something you'll love wearing. For me, that's a garter stitch scarf.

I did want this to be a little bit different from your usual stripy scarf, so I knitted it on the bias. I started in one corner, increased until it was a width I was happy with, then carried on until I'd used up three skeins of Outlaw YarnVanitas DK, and finished off by decreasing to the last corner. 

This is a great yarn for an accessory. With 90 per cent alpaca, it's super soft and extremely warm.

Want to make one too?

Here's how I made mine… just a note that this has not been tested by other knitters and it might not be the best use of increases and decreases, but it's resulted in something that works for me!

Camp Fire Scarf

You need 4 x skeins of Outlaw Yarns' Vanitas Dk:
1 x Knowledge (blue)
1 x Wealth (straw / gold)
1 x Mahogany (brick red)
1 x Vanity (grey)

4mm needles

Gauge: 22 sts x 44 rows over 10cm after blocking

CO = cast on
Sl 1 = slip 1
Kfb = knit into the front and back of the stitch (increases one)
k= knit
k2tog = knit two together (decreases one)
BO = bind off

To start - increase section

CO 3 sts with Knowledge
Set up row: Sl 1, Kfb, K1
Increase row: Sl 1, k to last two sts, Kfb, K1
Repeat the increase row until you have 94 sts

Body of scarf

Cut yarn, leaving 6 inches to weave in and join in Wealth.

Row 1 (right side) Sl 1, K2tog, K to last two sts, Kfb, K1
Row 2 Sl 1, K to end.

Continue repeating these two rows until you reach the end of the skein, finishing on the wrong side.
Join in Mahogany, continuing in body pattern.
Continue until you reach the end of the skein, finishing on the wrong side.
Join in Vanity, continuing in body pattern.
Continue until you reach the end of the skein, finishing on the wrong side.

Decrease section:

Join in the remainder of Knowledge

Row 1 (right side) Sl 1, K2tog, K to end
Row 2: Sl1, K2tog, K to end

Continue repeating these two rows until 3 sts remain. BO.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Revolution continues

My scarf will be finished in time for Fashion Revolution Day!
Thanks Sarah Sew Love for the photo!

Tomorrow is the second Fashion Revolution Day, marking the second anniversary of the Rana Plaza catastrophe in Dhaka, Bangladesh. 

It's a day that people are encouraged to ask the big questions of the brands they wear, and find out who made our clothes. Too many lives are lost for fast fashion, too many garments are produced in terrible working conditions, and the toll on the environment is immense. 

Over the last two years I've done my best to make more of an effort to find out where the contents of my wardrobe come from. I'm grateful that New Zealand has amazing local designers, and buying cool NZ-made clothes is getting easier. As a vintage lover, I'm happy that I'm preventing more clothes going to landfill. When I'm buying new clothes that aren't locally made, I'm trying my best to buy handmade or ethically produced. 

And then there's the making! As a knitter and a beginner sewer, I really love wearing things that I've made myself that no-one else has. Fashion should be about expressing your individuality, not following trends, and I've found making one of the best ways to express that. So tomorrow I will be proudly wearing something I've made myself, as well as trying to find out more about where some of my other stuff is produced.

I really hope Fashion Revolution Days also inspires people to consider the impact of the fashion industry every time they purchase something, and look for alternatives, such as vintage, handmade and ethically or locally produced. Ask questions of the brands that make your favourite things, ask them to ensure good conditions for the hard working makers in their supply chains and ask them to produce their garments more sustainably.

Don't forget to ask tomorrow, #whomademyclothes?

Monday, April 13, 2015

On dealing with the mess

For the last year or so, I've been making a pretty big effort to be more considered in my approach to buying clothes. Every time I get something new, two things have to be removed from the wardrobe - either sold on or donated to charity. It's made me really pay attention to what I wear often, how versatile an item is or if it just hangs in the wardrobe for months on end without being used at all.

But recently, just doing this kind of treatment to the wardrobe has not been quite enough. I have books on my book shelf that haven't been opened in years. Pieces of furniture crammed in our living space just because we have it, not because it is needed. I'm starting to notice more and more of the stuff around our house, and realise how much of it I hardly ever use. 

So I'm going to donate more stuff. I've pulled about 50 books off the bookshelf that I will not notice once they are gone. I've pulled out another bag of clothes to sell. I'm eyeing up some of my tea cups that I've collected over the years that are just gathering dust. Those might need new homes too.

Then there's the stash. I have a fair amount of yarn that I know I will never use. It's not my colour or a weight I'd ever knit with. It's taking up plenty of space in drawers, and it is not being enjoyed. So that will be the next area I focus on. 

All of this has been inspired by a recent amazing conversation with a craft blogger who has some great insights around stashing - more on that in a later post - and a book I've been working my way though all weekend, Stuffocation by James Wallman. The premise of the book is about how having stuff doesn't make us happy, but making us feel more stressed, anxious and unhealthy. It challenges you to live more with less, investing more in experiences than in things.  I'm really enjoying it so far and I'm liking how it's helping me focus on what stuff I have that really isn't serving me well. 

It wasn't all reading on the weekend. My very simple scarf progressed a bit more. I realised not long after starting this project that the three skeins I began with just wouldn't be enough. Last week I ordered the last skein I needed, another Vanitas DK by Outlaw Yarn in Vanity. I'm really happy with how it's turning out. And given the very sudden temperature drop around here over the last day or so, I'm definitely needing to finish this soon!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Bit jazzy

Haven't done much knitting this weekend because of awesome wedding celebrations for dear friends. I don't tend to post too much stuff on the blog about non-knitting, non-handmade or non-vintage things, but I figured a 1920s themed wedding totally makes the cut!

Doesn't my man scrub up well? And, really, I jump at any excuse to wear something remotely vintage.

My dress is from Shag Vintage in Melbourne, shoes are from Modcloth and my amazing Penguin Classics Great Gatsby bag is from Estelle of Brighton
Mr is wearing a Cambridge Kit sports jacket, AS Colour chinos, a bowtie from Barkers and a hat we found on Trademe. Think we should dress like this all the time. Maybe have 1920s Mondays or something!