Cautious spring color

spring color_darning

I’ll admit to feeling some winter funk lately, after a few fleeting warm and sunny days and a return to grey. I’m craving color, cheer, change — signs of life.

(It’s snowing again as I write this).

I funneled some of my restless spring energy into a Pinterest board, a holding space for all things bright, bare ankled, and smock-pocketed.

But I’ve found another outlet: imbuing the last of my winter projects with a bit of spring fever, creating my own vibrancy until the landscape gives way. It started when I finished my big winter knitting project, the Exeter cardigan, and even worked through a few smaller gift items. Finally, restless fingers found time to pick up a holey hand-me-down cashmere sweater, fumbling my way through some experiments in darning.

Inspired equally by the visible mending movement and the shabby slouchiness of a sweater past its prime, I decided to accentuate the darning with contrasting thread colors from my collection of vintage spools.

It takes a closer eye and a bit more fine-tuned attention than evening knitting, but I’ve actually been really enjoying darning, turning each little hole into a tapestry. The overall effect reminds me of days spent in the painting studio, returning home with splotches of my palette in unsuspecting places, building color onto garments instead of canvas.

spring color_sock

This cheery nod spilled over into my next knitting project, a simple pair of socks I’ve been wanting to make out of some local Babydoll Southdown wool. Last summer, I dyed half of my lot in fresh indigo, so I decided to swatch in stripes. But it seemed like it was missing something, so I divided off another portion of the white yarn and made a quick dye bath of dried marigolds. The bright yellow is unexpected but exactly what I needed — sort of a, when life won’t give you daffodils, make your sunshine, kind of shade.

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new year new skills

Lots of things in progress right now and even though it’s hard to be patient because I’m eager to have lovely new pieces to wear, I’m also really enjoying tackling items on my list of things to learn someday. Like:

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Wet blocking my knitting! Water + wool makes me anxious, especially after months of knitting my first sweater, but this week it went into the suds…

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Visible mending! I’ve been really drawn to boro and sashiko and wanted to try it out. So I just decided to dig in & experiment on this delicate ripped silk…

I think I psych myself out sometimes when I want to take on a new skill, and end up spending too much time researching the “right” methods. Wet blocking and visible mending were two things stuck in that limbo for a while. Another big skill I’d like to tackle is garment fitting. At this point most of my wardrobe is from the thrift store and slightly ill-fitting (in a vintage way?) or is RTW which is always a bit too short for my frame. I recently realized that I don’t necessarily know what a proper fit is for me, so that’s my next major new skill//new adventure.

The thing is I like slightly oversize and boxy shapes, but I need to learn the difference between architectural shapes and just, well, baggy. Thinking more artful, less sloppy. More to come as I work on the beginning of the Wardrobe Architect series!