I truly believe the most subversive thing you can do today is spend as much of the day as possible nurturing what is not machine-like in you. ~ Austin Kleon
You know that at-loose-ends feeling you get after finishing a big project? Yeah, that's me. My book (The Joy of Color) took so much of my time and attention for so long, once it was launched into the world I felt sort of let down. Don't get me wrong: I love how it turned out! And I've certainly been busy getting the word out (did you see Franklin's review on the Mason-Dixon Knitting site? Made me so happy because you just know that Franklin is a straight shooter).
To get past this slump I began a Studio Journal, collecting ideas about what inspires me. I feel the old creative energy returning, but I'm nurturing it quietly and not pushing anything.
In the mean time, though, I haven't given up knitting!
Confession: For many years I've just about lived in my fleece vests. Vests are so very useful in milder climates, and I love how unconstricting they feel. But I can no longer ignore the fact that polyester fleece—so soft, so light, so affordable—is a threat to the environment. We can purchase fleece made from plastic bottles, but even that fleece is problematic because every time we wash fleece we send micro bits of plastic into the water shed. (If you've ordered from my shop (Feral Knitter) you may have received your yarn in reused plastic bags—there's an amazing amount of plastic in the yarn industry, so every time we reuse what we've got it helps.)
So late last year I decided to knit myself several vests out of real, natural, biodegradable fibers so I could wean myself off of my fleece reliance. These are my Clothes That Rot!
1. The Lohman pullover by Julie Hoover in Brooklyn Tweed's Loft. (I do love Shelter and Loft....) I wasn't sure about this oversized shaping, but I find that I love it! I've worn this vest a lot over cotton turtlenecks. This is, I think, the first sweater I've knit in pieces (I know, wild, huh?). The pattern was well written, but it has some pretty involved shaping that required close attention--I'm not used to that! But all experience makes us stronger, and the result was worth it.
2. The Less Is More Cardigan by Amy King in my handspun. I'm an enthusiastic collector of painted rovings, but I'm not the greatest spinner in the world. Still, I enjoy it and like to feel that there is space in the world for those of us who just enjoy things without needing to be perfect! At any rate, I spun up 8 different rovings using the fractal methods shown in Jillian Moreno's Yarnitecture (great book!). I was trying to make a larger yarn than I usually do—I managed this although not consistently. However, I ended up with a rather heavy semi-worsted yarn, so my vest could drown you if you fell in the lake. I love it anyway and think of it as my Dolly Parton vest (a "coat of many colors"). Looking forward to more experimentation and improving my woolen spinning technique.
3. And some Fair Isle: my own design, the Arrowhead County V-neck vest (at the top of this page) in more of my handspun, this time different shades of Shetland plus I dyed some white with indigo. I'm playing it loose, choosing a different traditional Fair Isle motif from Sheila McGregor's Traditional Fair Isle Knitting for each band.
It's has felt right to spend time making these vests. I'm very happy to stop adding to the load of plastic our poor home, planet Earth, has to carry!