In honor of the Rana Plaza Factory collapse in Bangladesh a year ago, today people are showing their labels to acknowledge where their clothing comes from. My outfit today (and most every day) no longer has any labels, because I have segued into making all of my wardrobe (with the exceptions of undergarments & shoes). I do not say this to brag, just to explain why my clothing is on right side today. I love that there is a movement to recognize the price paid by people who sew for a living in Third World countries. Our cheap fashion comes at a high price for some, much the same way that cheap food has many hidden costs. Garbage in garbage out is the way I see it….
This past week has been full of low tech work for me. Saturday the fabulous, charming, delightful, Mary Jane Mucklestone was here teaching us how to steek our knitting. This technique has been the holy grail for me, a method I was always too scared to try on my own. But simultaneously an endless curiosity. I am a cardigan wearing creature, and I am very attracted to color work both for the design and the process, so not knowing how (or having the nerve to try) this technique was hampering my creativity. This weekend I bit the bullet and cut my knitting.
Mary Jane is one of those people it is a joy to learn from. She was just the right person to bust my steeking cherry. She knows her stuff when it comes to color work and wool and knitting, but she is so warm and approachable, and encouraging as a teacher that you cannot help but get swept up in her enthusiasm. Then before you know it, you have taken scissors to your knitting. And it works! Nothing unravels. All your yarn colors stick to one another and what was once a tube, becomes flat fabric. Such an incredible feeling. You want to go cut more knitting… To date my color knitting has been limited to hats. This past Winter I feel like I really started to get a handle on the necessary tension for stranded color work. So now I want to make a whole garment. I have already knit the majority of one sleeve for a Strokkur by Ysolda Teague in Peace Fleece, in Father's Grey I had in the stash. For the yoke I got two greens, Shaba and Lena's Meadow. In all reality, chances are I won't get to the yoke before it gets too hot for me to knit with wool. But next Fall when it starts cooling down I will have a project to pick up and finish in time for the first frost...
The other piece of hand work I am doing is my first hand quilting. I am not able to show you a full picture of what I'm doing at the moment because this one is a surprise project, but I can give you a small detail. Hand quilting…. man, a hand stitchers nirvana. Not quite as straightforward as it may seem. There is technique specific to it's practice, and tools that go along. Just pulling out any old needle, thimble and thread will only frustrate one. But with the right accoutrements, oh my, what a delicious and beautiful practice. It is a challenge to keep those stitches small and even, and going through all layers. A thimble is very useful, as is a short needle, called a 'between'. Achieving the rocking motion advised is not a simple task. But each time I sit down with this I get a little better at it. Practice, practice, practice, what do I always say?
Sonya Philip posted a wonderful quote on her Facebook page the other day:
"By making things you create the shift from passive consumer to participant."
I love this quote. I aim to be a participant. I like others who participate. I created AGOS to be a hub for participants. Look at your labels, do you know where your clothes came from?