knitting it up in a big way

sparkle/snow

even though there’s very little evidence on this blog, i’m still getting dressed every day. this outfit is actually from last year, as i had forgotten that i had pictures of it!

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target sparkly spangly shirt – j. crew thrifted silver cardigan – gap navy skinnies
gift from my brother necklace – willits saddle shoes

this was my go-to holiday outfit, for all but the fanciest of parties. metallic cardigan with sparkly shirt? don’t mind if i do! add a spangly necklace, put my hair up, apply bright red lippy (not pictured), and i’m set! i love this sparkly shirt. do you think it’s too much for day to day wear? i might try to sneak it in more regularly…

this hair-do is really easy but also not-sustainable. i split my hair into two parts, as if i were going to do two braids, but i just twisted the segments until they twisted in on themselves, and then i stuck pins everywhere. i like the way it looks, but it never felt totally secure.

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visible mending

as i’m sure you have picked up on by now, i have been thinking quite a bit about the concept of visual mending. i really like it. why, when something breaks, should it go back to looking exactly the way it did before it broke? there are so many examples of things looking equally nice, sometimes better, if you take a bit to think about how to go about mending them in a way that isn’t invisible.

while we were watching downton abbey awhile ago at my in-laws (i love that show soooo much), there was an episode in season 3 where daisy goes to visit her father-in-law (i wish that relationship was a little more to the forefront, it’s one of my faves) at his farm, and we see his kitchen windows:

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(image found here)

absolutely dreamy, right? my father-in-law explained that in old windows like that, when a pane broke, they would just mend it by adding another seam of lead (i think lead?), rather than the added expense of purchasing new glass. economical, and frankly, beautiful!

julie recently discovered there had been a moth attack on several of her favorite sweaters, and came up with the beautiful solution of embroidering over them:


(from this blogpost)

i love this! this was a lovely sweater before, but now it looks like something you could buy at anthropologie!

and i’ve been playing with contrasting darning, of course!

but last weekend, while i was tearing around the house, cleaning everything in sight, i stumbled across a baggie holding one of my favorite necklaces, whose delicate chain had broken, and a note reading ‘eliza, get this necklace fixed! love, eliza’. but i was feeling very diy capable, so i broke out my small supply of jewelry tools and materials and whipped up my own solution:

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i put a tiny orange glass bead in place of the missing link, held there by some silver wire. it isn’t perfectly done, but i can wear my necklace now! and if i want it more perfectly fixed in the future, it’s easy enough to reverse.

been doing any visual mending of your own recently? or seen anything inspiring?

a productive weekend

i’ve still been pursuing my desire for a ‘clean slate’ as of late. this weekend was really productive. i cleaned the entire apartment. and i’ve been trying to finish projects that have been laying around for a while.

like this overhead light for the bedroom:

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i’ve had the shade for quite a while, but i bought the other components last week, so i finally got it up this weekend. all light in the bedroom has come from lamps, so it’s really nice to have something that casts a better glow.

and i finally figured out what to do with this cute faucet handle i bought a few flea markets ago:

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right above the audubon print in the bathroom! the audubon print is also from the flea market (serious love for the flea market). i like it for many reasons, not least because it reminds me of ‘okay for now’ (note to self: get back to those book reviews).

as i was going through and cleaning, i went through this one corner of the kitchen. it’s the kind of corner (i’m sure we all have them), that collects things… you know, unpaid bills, nice cards from the most recent card type occasion, and those papers and small objects that just don’t seem to have a home… anyways, i decided if i put something there, maybe it wouldn’t collect nearly as much stuff. so here’s what we’ve got now:

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time will tell if this actually keeps the clutter at bay, but it’s worth a shot!

well, anyways, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that this was the weekend of the flea market.

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i only bought one thing:

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a lovely turquoise ring. new mexico has very much been on my mind, recently…

i also saw this fabulous large poster for the rocketeer:

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jake loves that movie, and i love the heavy art deco influence on the design, as well as the retro advertising. the poster is a ridiculous size, considering our small apartment, but i had to admire it. jill got a really fantastic hudson bay blanket, which i offered to carry around for her. someday my own hudson bay blanket will find me! until then, i will snuggle with all of my wool blankets that i already own…

i finished a couple of other smaller projects. i’ll share those later this week! what’d you do this weekend?

lately

still chugging away on my sweater. this is where i am as of today:

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not too bad, eh? torso is done. i decided to repeat the aqua triangles and navy stripe/dot detail at the bottom of the torso, and i’ll be doing that for the sleeves too. it makes me ever so mildly cranky, as this means that this project won’t actually use up the dark teal that i used as the base for the ‘xo’ pattern at the yoke (it’s still a yoke if it’s a raglan, right?)

i put up this picture on social media to get everyone’s input on which dot color to use:

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after hearing everyone out, i’m 98% sure that the green is the winner. i like that it’s an outlier in the color palette, but it doesn’t distract from anything else. feel free to argue your point if you disagree, though!

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last weekend we helped a friend prep the family shoe store for moving. it was a lot of physical work, but it was also fun. i really appreciated how simple and visual the tasks were. move things, take down shelves, sweep. look, a clear room! there’s something about tasks like this at a time when other things are murky or unquiet that makes them all the more satisfying.

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we found some graffiti, too! nobody knows who wrote it, or who jennifer ann is. this weeks update was filmed while we were doing this, and it was pretty fun, if you want to check it out:

for brunch the other day, we we had the usual standbys, foodwise, but i was feeling like mixing it up. so i made ‘egg-in-the-hole’, which jake called ‘eggy in toast’:

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also going fairly strong in my efforts to buy less food and therefore throw out less food. leftover rice was used for a very traditional purpose!

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fried rice! my first attempt. definitely fast and easy enough that this will become a mainstay. i honestly had no idea it was so easy, otherwise this would have happened a looooong time ago. i used this recipe, with teriyaki tofu instead of chicken. it was a tad bland. i’ll probably get adventurous in the future, but i do like to stick pretty close to the original the first time i make a recipe.

what’s going on with you guys? any fun plans this weekend?

wip: fair isle sweater

occasionally i struggle with whether or not certain subjects are appropriate for this blog. i do try to keep the focus on my knitting, crafting, and personal style for the most part. i have no problem talking about places i go, in case any of you find yourself in the same city, looking for something like it. but i get a little stuck about personal things, especially if they aren’t all sunshine and roses.

but what it comes down to is that i think of you, my readers, as friends, and also, this is a corner of the internet that i have curated as a place for my own thoughts. so why not?

but before we get to that, let me change the subject briefly. rewind the tapes to two weeks ago. i was making quite good progress on my stash-busting sweater:

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i had a few inches of each sleeve and the body. oh, did i mention that of my 5 skeins of the base oatmeal heather yarn, i had 2 skeins of one dye lot, and 3 skeins of another, with a quite noticeable difference between the two tones? lecture to self: this is what happens when you don’t buy sweaters worth of yarn at one time, eliza. you have to get super creative, and figure out work-arounds instead of just knitting a sweater in a simple fashion. end lecture. my work-around was to do alternating rows of the two colors for 10 rows of each yarn, 20 rows total, to transition to the new yarn. it’s still visible, but it’s more of a gradient effect, and less of a striping effect. with lots and lots of yarns to keep track of from the three different portions of the sweater that were all actively being knit.

at this point, i was feeling quite cheerful about my progress. does this sound like a red flag? ha! well, i dove into my wardrobe and found a sweater that fits me the way i envision this one should: kind of chunky, with some positive ease, but still close enough to my size that i’m not swaddled or dwarfed in it. i laid the completely unblocked sweater down, with my store bought sweater over it, and lo! if there wasn’t about 5 inches (12ish cm?) of unnecessary fabric in the body, and about 2 inches in the sleeves (5 cm). cue the popped balloon whizzing around the room and floating sadly to the ground.

this is a very traditional point in a project where my bitter feelings instigate me tossing this into the pile of ignored knits until 18 months later when i either find energy to pick it back up, or i find energy to frog it and put the yarn back in my stash.

this time, however, i re-calculated my numbers, and pulled back to here:

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(old picture, but accurate to the case in point)

it was at this point that i had a day off, and i was sleeping in that morning when my mother called. i let her leave a message, thinking i’d call her back in an hour when i got another 10 minutes of sleep and a cup of coffee. but a few minutes later, my aunt called. if two (related) family members call in quick succession, i always panic. about 50% of the time, it was just a coincidence, and i have a nice chat while my heart slowly returns to a normal pace, but 50% of the time i have reason to worry.

my grandma was ill. very ill. i won’t go into details, but the broad idea is that she has had some heart problems, which had just gotten compounded with pneumonia.

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i have had the extreme good fortune to grow up living blocks away from my grandparents (both sets). and as the eldest child of two eldest children, my grandparents were fairly young and healthy. they all had quite a hand in raising me. my grandma taught me table manners. she brought me to dentist appointments. she was the one who, when the training wheels came off my bike, jogged along behind me, one hand on my bike, until i gained my own momentum. she took me to museums and fancy lunches. she nurtured a love of art in me, which in turn led to my interest and pursuit of art school. she visited colleges with me. i called her when i needed to talk through financial decisions. her input was considered and approval had to be rendered before i accepted student loans or bought my car. the extent to which she helped shape me cannot be calculated, and this list cannot begin to sum up what she was to me.

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i found a flight as fast as i could (they were wintering in new mexico), packed a bag, and my knitting, and got out there as expediently as possible.

my sweater got worked on in small bits and pieces as i spent time at the hospital, a very little bit after my grandma was moved to hospice, and was completely forgotten as she slipped away from us.

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i’ve almost knit back to where i was before i pulled back. but as i’ve been knitting this, and going through what will certainly be a gigantic milestone in my life, i’ve been wondering how this experience will effect my perception of this sweater. will the fact that i lost one of the most important people in my life while working on this make this sweater difficult to wear? will the weight of it on my shoulders bring memories of my difficult emotions? or will i cherish it for being present in my last hours with my grandmother?

have you had any experiences with the imprinting of an experience affecting your knit or final object?

the vanity of a cat

when i’m taking photographs of an object, i usually use our kitchen counter. it is white, and gives me a clean, easy background for whatever object i’m trying to capture.

this same counter is where baiza gets her daily treat. and where she can be nosy and get in the way while we try to dish out her meals. also where she gets gently taken away from when ‘people food’ is being prepped. sometimes repeatedly until she understands.

so most of what we people do on the counter is of interest to her. so it shouldn’t surprise me that when i try to take photos of objects, she’s pretty sure this will be an event of interest to her, and try to participate.

anyways, my mini photoshoot with the krumkake roller got sidetracked into a kitty photoshoot, so i thought i’d share her silliness.

baiza

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my favorite outfits of 2013

9/15

a distinct lack of words

daily duds for a foggy day

foggy days

thrifty thursday

thrifty thursday (i should start doing these again!)

2/15

blue door

4/15

willow by the water’s edge

5/15

5/15

9/15

mucca pazza and ribfest

13/15

in a hat moment

high desert

a day in sante fe

layered j. crew

chambray stripes and quartz

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heidi braids/chipping paint

you probably caught onto this by now, but i really like these outfits! i feel totally comfortable, totally myself in these. my style is ever evolving, but i really feel like documenting it is helping me to define it, to feel more confident about trying new things, about figuring out what looks best on me. i feel more confident with color, and color relationships than i have before. i have always been more of a pants girl, but i like the way i look in skirts, and i’m slowly getting more comfortable wearing them.

this year i’m going to try to buy less. i’m trying to be especially mindful when it comes to buying things first hand. i’ve worked for multiple retailers that educate their employees on where their products come from, and learning that the wool for a sweater came from one continent, was shipped to another for fabrication, yet another for assembly doesn’t sit super great with me. not only is this sweater better traveled than i am by the time i purchase it, but is that really the best use of resources? the problem is that this high mindedness very directly fights my desire to spend less money, buy things that are a good deal. there are amazing companies out there that produce everything locally, with minimal environmental impact and maximum attention to their employees, but i can’t afford to outfit myself from their stock. so i’m trying to buy more clothing second hand, where it has far less impact. i’m trying to make better choices about what i buy first hand, adding to my wardrobe only items that i will literally wear out, and try to choose quality over quantity. trying being the key word here.

this is a subject i’ve wanted to broach here before. it’s something i think about a fair amount. but i know myself, and i know that a few times a year, i’ll end up at the mall, and i’ll see something really cute at a really good price, and i will buy it. so. i guess i’m hoping that by finally talking about it, i will hold myself more accountable. have any of you guys had this debate at all? do you know of any resources to help me in this quest of mine?


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