Tried and True Review: Slow Fashion October Edition

School House Tunic and Pas de Valse
School House Tunic #1
Pas de Valse

A Tried & True Review, where I look back at old project and discuss how it's held up since I made it, both successes and closet rejects, in an attempt to show how my projects have stood the test of time and/or to learn from the mistakes of my yesterdays.

The Original:  Waltz in Grey and School House Tunic

Made: June 2011 (4.25 years old) and September 2011 (4 years old) (you'd also think my hair doesn't change much either...)

Update: If you follow along in the sewing or knitting social media worlds, you've probably heard of Slow Fashion October by now. If not, the short version is that it's taking the month of October to think consciously about our wardrobes, how do we add to them?, what is enough?, how does making your own clothes influence that? etc.

I've been thinking about a lot of these topics for a while both in these Tried & True Reviews and in my post on Ethical Fashion and why I started making my own underthings.

It's week three of Slow Fashion October now, with the theme of LOVED: proudest accomplishment / most loved item / most frequently worn item / thing you saved up for / investment pieces / thing you worked a long time on / oldest thing that’s still in rotation. And I thought it would be as good a time as any to feature my two most frequently worn makes in a Tried and True Review.

If it's fall or winter and that top is clean, there's a good chance I'm wearing it and even if it's not clean, I'm probably still wearing the cardigan anyway.

Fit: In truth, I really should have knit the next size of the cardigan up, so the collar doesn't really fold back as far as it should, but I just give it a firm blocking whenever I wash it and it's an open cardigan anyway, so it doesn't matter too much. The tunic fits well, though sometimes the armband elastic feels a bit snug.

Style/Materials: The cardigan was knit out of an undyed alpaca/nylon sock yarn. It takes a licking and keep on ticking (as they say). It's a bit itchy on bare arms, but the beautiful natural grey color goes with pretty much anything, which is why is gets worn so very much. The fabric for the tunic is in gingham (my favorite) and is a thick cotton that feel almost like a dish towel, it's just ridiculously cozy. As for style, I still feel like the tunic looks vaguely like maternity wear (and I made a bunch during my pregnancy), but if I throw a more fitted cardigan over it, it doesn't matter as much.

Construction: The tunic was a simple sew, but the cardigan took forever to knit. I've had to replace the thread button loop on the tunic once and the yarn is starting to pill a bit, but both these pieces have survived four years of hard wear and will last for many more. Well worth the effort.

Lesson(s) Learned: Positive ease is a good thing in a cardigan.

Final Verdict: Something doesn't have to be perfect to be your favorite.

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Tying Up The Week

Um, wow. How did it get to be Friday already? Heck, I'm not even sure where November went. In any case I wanted to pop in over here say "hi!", and I thought I'd throw in an outfit post, since this one is just about the opposite of the skirty outfits I've posted in the past.


There was a period in high school where I would wear ties all the time, now the only one I own is this one. I like to think of this outfit as the chic girly take on classic grandpa style, with the gray cardi and wool tie. Also, I love my new boots and I'm sure you've all experienced how hard it is to find the perfect boot.


Sweater: Pas de Valse, knit by me.

Button up shirt: Banana Republic Outlet

Tie: John Henry, was my dad's.

Jeans: Old Navy

Boots: Clarks


In other news, I've been busy Christmas decorating and crafting, and I hope to share some of that with you all soon! And oh yeah, I cut off all my hair again.

Happy Friday!

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OOTD: Making it Work for Me

Shabby Apple - Southwest Style Remember a few weeks back when I said this sweater wasn't my favorite, but that I'd probably wear it a ton anyway? While I still think it isn't the most "me" thing I've ever made, I have been wearing it a lot, and as the frustration of making it has worn off, I've grown to really like it. It's cozy and very versatile.

In this outfit, I paired it with another "out of my comfort zone" piece, the very red Red-Fox dress.

Shabby Apple - Southwest Style

I fell in love with the dress, and bought it even though as a red-head (ish- auburn really) I've always avoided red. My last attempt at styling this dress I shared didn't quite work for me, the red/black was just too harsh methinks, but this "southwestern" take is a much better fit. The turquoise necklace hints at it, but if I had cowboy boots, it would be really southwestern.

Necklace: from my Mom

Cardigan: made by me

Dress: Red Fox by Shabby Apple

Belt: from my Mom

Shoes: Bass Outlet

Shabby Apple - Southwest Style

When you end up with items that aren't in your usual style, how do you make it work for you??

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Waltz in Grey

Waltz in Grey

It seems like the sweaters I dislike knitting the most, end up being the sweaters I wear the most. Case in point, That [email protected]#n Sweater, which I wear ALL the time.

Waltz in Grey

This sweater falls into the same category. The pattern is Pas de Valse by Marnie MacLean. The pattern itself is fine, but I really lost my knitting mojo working on this thing. I blame too much stockinette stitch on size 6 needles. I knit the size closest to my actual bust size, with about 1 inch of ease. I wish I had gone one size up, but I thought it would grow much much more than it did when blocking (the yarn is alpaca/nylon sock blend from Snowshoe Farms that I picked up at Rhinebeck). I did end up going up a size on the sleeves, which I'm awfully glad I did.

Waltz in Grey

The finished product is very wearable - I think I've worn it three times this week already, but in the end, it's just not my favorite. I didn't care for knitting it and I think the style of the finished object, though lovely, just isn't me. I'm not really a drapey-style gal. Of course, I say this, but because the color really fills a need in my wardrobe, I will still wear it a lot.

I guess I'll just need to get in touch with my inner Eileen Fisher when I do. :)

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Finished Object Roundup

I finished a couple of knitting projects last week, just in time to show them off this weekend. The first one, which which I wore to the NETA SPA- knit & spin retreat on Saturday was the FLOGS jacket I've been showing progress on over the past few weeks.

Nasturium FLOGS

I love the finished sweater. It's super cozy (though it weighs a ton!). It's knit in Quince & Co. Puffin in Nasturtium, which is the smoothest bulky yarn I've ever worked with. I think the shape is great and rather flattering. If I made one change, it would be to knit the collar a needle size down, as it lost some of it's stand-up-ness during blocking.

Paul Atwell Socks

Paul Atwell Socks

These socks I started knitting in the fall last year as my travel project. I worked on them on my trips to Rhinebeck, Chicago, and Southern California that seemed to happen in ridiculously rapid succession and then didn't pick them up until about a week ago. The pattern is the Paul Atwell Socks, which I really enjoyed knitting (when I got around to it). The stitch pattern is easy to memorize, but it has a great effect for so little effort. The story behind the pattern (and the Family Trunk Project in general) is worth a read.

New Projects for Spring

I've already got a new spring-weight sweater on the needles and yesterday I cast on a new pair of socks. Can't have those needles empty, can I?

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Roadtrip: Rhinebeck!!

Sheep Puppet

I'm leaving for a business/fun trip to Chicago today, but before I left I wanted to jot down a few words on my trip to Rhinebeck.

Rhinebeck Flair

As group of seven of us left bright and early Friday morning, divided into, as the running gag was all weekend - an old people and a young people car - henceforth referred to as OPs and YPs.

The YPs car before:

Car Before

We left early so we could make a detour to Northhampton, MA to visit WEBS: "America's Yarn Store." Yes, we stopped to buy yarn, before we spent a weekend at a sheep & wool festival, buying yarn.

The Gang Outside Webs

WEBS is huge.

Webs is Amazing

We even spotted a Great American Afghan (Karen's nemesis) live and in the wool.

Great American Afghan!

And if the main store wasn't big enough, there's a warehouse.

Webs warehouse

We, as a group, found a thing or two... I ended up with a sweater's worth of Williamstown for my 2010 knitalution (to design and knit a full-sized sweater).

Webs haul

That night we landed at our hotel, ordered in some Chinese food (that came with a complimentary bottle of Grapette Soda), and read aloud from the Amish romance Novel, The Parting.

Saturday morning, we made sure we were at the gate at opening:

Line to Enter

Our first stop was the Evergreen Farms booth for an angora. Maggie had recently lost her bunny Cocoa Bean and was debating whether she was ready for a new one. Petunia convinced her she was.

Maggie & Petunia

After a quick stop at She Shoots Sheep Rhinebeck Style photoshoot (I think  Maggie, Bristol and myself were models  #9, #8, and #7, respectively. I'll post a link when the slideshow is up), we headed out for the vendors.

Vendor Tents

After the first two barns I had checked off my three must-haves from my shopping list: 1750 yards fingering weight yarn in a natural grey for a Pas de Valse sweater from Snowshoe Farm Alpacas,  semi-solid sock yarn from Persimmon Tree Farm, and an eye-catching spinning fiber from Gnomespun Yarn Fiber Arts. Fortunately for my wallet I slowed my pace and bit and my final two pruchases of the day, buttons for my knitalution sweater from Jennie the Potter and a BFL/Silk braid of roving from Gale's Art waited until after lunch.

Ravelry MeetUp

After lunch, we headed to the Ravelry lunch meet up and got to meet Sarah, Casey and Mary Heather.

Mary Heather

We also made dead center behind the banner in the official meet-up photo, which hasn't been posted yet. Ravelry Lunch Meet Up

We spent a bunch of time with some folks who raised Soay sheep, an primitive sheep breed . I didn't note the farm unfortunately.

American Soay

By 3ish - we were tuckered out and stopped for a apple cider doughtnut break, before leaping back into the fray.

Karen & Doughtnut

We left the fairgrounds at 4:45. We left the parking lot an hour and a half later. (Noting for future trips, leave early!!)

After a break back at the hotel, the OPs went out to dinner and the YPs went to the Ravelry party in RedHook. We arrived too late for the goodie bags and cupcakes, but did get a chance to hop in the photobooth and chat with some lovely folks.

Ravelry Party

On Sunday, we packed up the cars (don't worry, we didn't really store the bunny in the back), had breakfast at a local diner and headed back for a few last hours at the fair. Car After

We caught a sheep shearing (the sheep's not a fan) Shearing

and picked up a few more items. I snagged another sock yarn, this time from Sliver Moon Farm, and fought off Maggie for some into the whirled roving. I have received much mocking from my knitting group for my color pallette/phases and how my knitting often matches my outfit. I have been firmly ensconced in a blue and yellow phase (my Manu and a pattern I'm releasing at month's end is a good example), but it seems pretty clear that my next phase is definitely leaning green.

My Rhinebeck Haul

All in all, the trip was fantastic and totally worth the drive and slightly sketchy hotel. We're aiming for a return trip in 2012. If you're planning a Rhinebeck trip, I'd make the following suggestions:

  • Book your hotel early. We did it about 3 months in advance and everything good had been booked by then.
  • Break up your days and catch some events. We wish we had seen some more of the events or taken a class. It all gets a bit over whelming, just doing vendor after vendor.
  • If you're doing both days, leave early on the first day. The traffic out of the parking lot was awful day one.
  • Talk to as many strangers as you can. Every person I talked to (usually started by one of us complimenting the other's knit-wear) was super nice and friendly and you have an automatic topic of conversation. I wish I had takend the time to chat more.

Now off to Chicago! Be back Sunday.