Posts Tagged ‘wool’

You complete me.

July 12, 2009

Dear Colette Patterns,

Thank you for making such beautiful patterns in such beautiful packaging with such clear and thought out instructions and such interesting construction where I learn new things.

Thanks to a great pattern, I was able to make something that one particular coworker of mine (and fellow sewer) did not immediately ask: did you make that?  In fact, she never asked.

All because you made a pattern that (a) looks current and chic and super flattering, (b) allowed me to understand proper tailoring just enough to make a work-appropriate, suit-like garment, and (c) had pattern pieces that just made sense and fit together so perfectly that I did not once swear or intentionally break something during the entire construction.  Not once. At least not once as a result of or directed to the garment, the pattern, or the sewing process.

This skirt was also a success because of my fabric choice, which you had nothing to do with, but thanks for making a pattern that complimented my fabric choice so nicely.

So thank you Colette Patterns.

I’m already scouting for fabrics for your other patterns and am anxiously awaiting new designs.

Sincerely,

The proud owner of the newly sewn, Green Beignet.

The fabric is a midweight wool that I bought 50% off from Exquisite Fabrics in DC during their most amazing moving sale.  The buttons are Le Petite.

(The bike is my new baby, a Jamis Sputnik single speed–my first real new bike…I keep it in my bedroom…and look at it from time to time…)

The lining is a grey silk habotai bought on ebay for super cheap–which is also used for some awesome pockets at each hip.  Did I mention I LOVE this pattern?  The paneling is gorgeous, the button front is adorable, and the high waist is right on style.

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Pretty and Smart.

June 16, 2008

It is an exciting day.  While frantically searching for the yarn I need to make an emergency bolero/shrug/whatever for a wedding I’m going to in a couple of weeks (Habu’s laceweight bamboo in wine in case anyone has some and they want to sell it to me, please please), I came across something amazing on one of my favorite sites, natursongyarn.com:  Fleece Artist Organic Wool.  Fleece Artist and Handmaiden make some of the most beautiful handpainted yarns I’ve ever seen.  The colors are rich and interesting, but until now they didn’t meet my criteria for 2008: organic, local, socially responsible, or (in a pinch) naturally dyed.  Until now.  Naturesong says this about it:

It really is creamy soft, it is not superwashed, so you can use it for felting if you feel so inspired, it comes from sheep raised organically, and was processed in a certified organic mill. Its DK weight is ideal for just about everything and, now that it is robed in Fleece Artist’s flowing colorways, well, life doesn’t get much better than this.

Too bad the other thing (besides buying “green” materials) is buying less materials.  It looks like everyone’s coming out with their green yarn lines, which is fantastic but also tempting to the point of possibly negating all the positive effects of buying green by buying too much.  I just recently bought some unneeded Malabrigo Limited Edition Organic Cotton, which is lovely and comes in lovely colors.  My excuse is the limited edition really put that fear into me–God forbid I miss out…or have a strong will.

So one of you will have to let me know more about this stuff….at least for now.

Sheep and wool everywhere

May 4, 2008

and no Mona in sight.

According to a few blogs I read, I’m missing the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. Given that it’s about an hour drive away, I feel like I’m missing an opportunity to be really irresponsible with my money.

I thought maybe today I would make it up there, but I couldn’t really get my act together.  I decided to tell myself that I couldn’t handle it. I think I probably share this attribute with a lot of people–I love to buy things, but I hate to shop. That is, I hate shopping after about an hour tops. In the past this feeling actually hasn’t extended to fabric shopping, which I could do for a VERY long time and be happy buying just a small bit of fabric.  Fabric shops are like museums to me, in fact my most favorite space in New York City is the Costume Institute at the Met and I also just found out that there’s a textile museum in DC.  But I’m not sure I have the same eye for yarn that I (think I) do with fabric. I’m still not sure how things will look knitted up, while I can have a pretty good sense of how a fabric will drape or look sewn up in a certain style. Experience has also taught me that the gravitational pull of a knitting design is way stronger than that of a particular yarn. So yarns I buy for the hell of it live forever untouched in my box o yarn unless by some stroke of luck they actually seem like they can work with a pattern I want to try out. That never happens with fabric–it’s always the opposite.

I also found that there was something that kind of irked me about the festival.  There are a few events or tents or something dedicated to lamb and sheep meat.  Duh, right? It’s a SHEEP and Wool festival.  The thing is I always forget about that element of things.  Like when I was researching wildlife management areas in Maryland and the main page I found (run by the state) was mostly focused on encouraging people to get them a hunting permit and hunt them some Maryland bear.  I was kind of incredibly shocked and appalled.  It’s possible I let the urban, liberal bubble close up around me every once in while, but hunting and the like also aren’t really a part of Indian culture…so it surprises me every once in while.

I think everyone has a line somewhere when it comes to animal cruelty/rights/welfare/whatever. For some the meat industry and hunting falls within their moral limits and for others using wool doesn’t even do that. I’m in between. I don’t really have a problem with using wool, though I completely understand the argument that animals should have agency — especially when the animal itself is presented solely as a product. I can imagine a sheep on the auction block where its value is in the flavor of its flesh and the softness of its fleece. And that makes me sad, because I think it becomes a spotlight for how we view everything, including ourselves.  I often fall into that trap of assessing my worth based on how valuable I think I am to others or how “marketable” I am (ewwww!).   But unfortunately I think every living thing on this earth is viewed to some degree by what they can offer the world — a product, an expertise, an attractive appearance, whatever. There’s just something unsettling when what you’re offering to the world has to be your life.  So that’s where I draw the line. For myself.

In any case,  I have a strong feeling that veggie/vegan knitters still enjoy the festival despite the meat offerings.  And the thing is there were a bunch of events not involving meat and not involving buying yarn that I really would have found fascinating — like the sheep shearing demonstration, or “Hands-on Basic Shepherding”, or the parade of sheep breeds!!  All in all I wish I had been able to pull it together and go see what festivals like this are really all about.  Next year maybe.  I’ll be excited to see the blog posts and pictures from those that went.

You know when I really think about it, it’s my use of wool yarn that makes me interested in sheep at all….I’m not sure I ever thought about sheep much before.

Am I organic?

March 8, 2008

I’ve mentioned a few times that I have a craft goal to only use “green” materials: organic and/or local and/or socially responsible yarns, for example. I think the trick in accomplishing this is to identify all the choices available to me so I know it’s doable, which I’ve started to do with my “green supplies” list. Turns out there are more choices than I had previously thought and I think I’ll be fine.

In fact, before I had really just considered organic cottons and the like. But come fall I’ll get to experiment with what seems to be a wealth of organic wools, which got me thinking…I’m a vegetarian, so I’m completely familiar with organically grown crops: tomatoes, apples, cotton and the like. But an organically grown animal? We grow animals?

It’s just weird terminology, but yes…I guess animals can be “grown” organically. Organic livestock must conform to these requirements:

  • Livestock feed and forage used from the last third of gestation must be certified organic;
  • Use of synthetic hormones and genetic engineering is prohibited;
  • Use of synthetic pesticides (internal, external, and on pastures) is prohibited (sheep cannot be dipped in parasiticides (insecticides) to control external parasites such as ticks and lice), and
  • Producers must encourage livestock health through good cultural and management practices (organic livestock producers are required to ensure that they do not exceed the natural carrying capacity of the land on which their animals graze).

So, awesome. But this brings me to my question…if animals can be organic, am I organic?

1. I eat organic. But not everything I eat is organic…and I’ve definitely as a child (and maybe even as an adult) eaten my fair share of processed grossness. Pesticides and all that good stuff have definitely made into my system. I think I get a NO on this one. Sad.

2. I definitely don’t use synthetic hormones and don’t think my parents had me genetically engineered. But I eat cheese and yogurt…I don’t drink milk or put it in anything, but I’m assuming all those crazy hormones are in the 2 former dairy products. Damnit. Another NO.

3. I don’t think I use synthetic pesticides internally, externally, or in my home…I think I’m safe in this one. Finally, a YES.

4. I’m an urban dweller, so I think I often live in areas where the carrying capacity for humans could be considered to be exceeded–especially when factoring in the huge ecological footprints of cities, which are dependent on amounts of land far exceeding the city limits. But, I think cities are the most sustainable model for human living given that we’ve probably exceeded the carrying capacity of the globe with our 7 billion or so people. I also I’m culturally sensitive and manage my life pretty well–good cultural and management practices, yes? So, I defy my first point and give myself a YES.

    This is pretty simplistic analysis of my organic-ness. But with a 50% I think I fail.

    Maybe I should tell my boyfriend I’m not organic. He’s really into being healthy.