Blog Crush: Into Mind

Blog Crush: Into Mind

Late Friday afternoon I was feeling slightly hooky-ish and also desperate to finish my seemingly endless waistcoat button band. So when I saw an Instagram remark from @ashmhiggs about wardrobe planning with the aid of a site called Into Mind (“set a few hours aside,” she said) I decided to take a look. Before I knew it, I had my knitting in my hands, the blog on my screen, and a pile of Fashionary panels spread out in front of me — reading, thinking, knitting, sketching, reading, sketching, knitting, sketching, reading. It was exactly the site my brain needed at that particular moment, and I felt immensely inspired. And in the case of this post, highly amused. (I am dying to get my hands on that book!)

As you know, along with attempting to gradually build an almost entirely handmade wardrobe, I’m trying to be incredibly thoughtful about what I knit and sew, choosing colors, fabric/yarn and patterns that not only suit me and my lifestyle but that will work together to form a small but hard-working wardrobe. It’s a lot to think about, and — apart from the handmade aspect — that’s exactly what Into Mind is all about. Similar to Sarai Mitnick’s Wardrobe Architect series last year, Into Mind’s Anuschka challenges you to think hard about every aspect of your ideal wardrobe: color, proportion, style, etc. Nothing about what she’s suggesting is particularly new — this is advice I’ve been reading since I was a teenager (decades ago, in other words) and have long felt like I no longer needed. I’ve got a pretty good handle on what I like and what works for me, generally speaking. But in the past I was only spending money. Now, in addition to the money, I’m spending a lot of time making my own clothes. And I’m more determined than ever to have them span years and seasons, so it feels that much more important to get it right. Anuschka really did make me want to take a step back and make a conscious list (or set of drawings, actually) of the basic proportions or outfit combinations that work for me — to establish a specific framework so that, going forward, I can make sure the things I intend to make will really fit into that framework before I cast on or cut fabric. So that it all adds up to something brilliant instead of a collection of beautiful things that don’t necessarily work together or for me.

Between Friday afternoon and the weekend, I’ve spent a couple of hours going through the posts — this one is a good jumping-off point if you don’t want to just go from the reverse-chron scroll — and have probably only made a dent in it. But I have to tell you, it’s really got my mind — and my pencil — racing.

Don’t worry — I’ll have lots more to share about that. Thanks a billion for the tip-off, Ash!


PREVIOUSLY in Blog Crush: The Craft Sessions

Blog Crush: The Craft Sessions

Blog Crush: The Craft Sessions

It occurred to me when putting together the last installment of Elsewhere how often I link to Felicia Semple’s Craft Sessions blog and yet I’ve never done a proper Blog Crush about it. Well! Felicia is the founder of the Australian craft camp known as The Craft Sessions — which I dream of one day attending — and started the blog (I believe) at the same time as the run-up to the first Sessions, a couple of years ago. In addition to her being a fantastic knitter and sewist, whose every project is worth an ooh and an ahh, the blog has become an outstanding resource over time, as Felicia is not afraid to write long. She picks a topic — from keeping a visual diary to picking the right sweater pattern — and digs all the way in. That means I don’t always have time to read as much of it as I would like, but I love knowing it’s there when I do — you know? Keep it up, F!


PREVIOUSLY in Blog Crush: Woolful — who, by the way, launched her podcast yesterday

Blog Crush: Woolful

Blog Crush: Woolful

I’ve mentioned Ashley Yousling here a few times before — most recently with regard to her darling Winston the Walrus pattern — and she graciously guest-blogged for me about her first sweater over the summer. I’ve been holding off on including her terrific blog, Woolful, in Blog Crush because it’s new and, well, you know how it goes with blogs and the whole petering out thing. But Ashley’s life is revolving more and more around wool, what with the launch of her joint venture with Annie Rowden, Little Woolens, and the recent news that she’s bought a farm and is planning to raise sheep and build a fiber mill. So I think it’s safe to say she’ll be continuing to blog about her wooly, organic, raw-food life — and that as she takes possession of this farm and works to build her dream, the blog will only get more and more engrossing. So you might as well go read through the archives while that’s still easy to do! (You can also find Ashley on Instagram as @woolful.)


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Blog Crush: Cinnamon Girl of Maine

Blog Crush: Cinnamon Girl of Maine

Last night, I sat down at my computer. That sounds like the first half of a sentence, I know, not the whole thing. But it’s gotten to be a foreign experience. Feeling particularly drained from the past three months and happy for a little screen time, I was longing for a really good blog to fall into. Ashley Yousling highlights good feeds on her Instagram account sometimes and one of the usernames in her recent batch had stood out to me: @homesweethomestead. I thought, hm, I wonder if the homesweethomestead girl (Julie is her actual name) blogs. And then I spent a very happy hour reading Cinnamon Girl of Maine. Julie and her husband bought a farm in Maine a couple of years ago and, as she puts it, “The dream is simple. It’s to lessen our needs and meet as many of those left as we can.” Lots of people [raises hand] have this dream, and many act on it, and many of those blog about it. But man, this girl can write! It’s not a knitting blog — in fact, I read back as far as January (so far), and at no point did she write about knitting, per se. But the act of knitting — keeping her family’s heads and hands warm — is as integral to her life and photos as are the chickens and dahlias and jelly jars. It’s elemental.


PREVIOUSLY in Blog Crush: Lori Times Five

Blog Crush: Lori Times Five

Blog Crush: Lori Times Five

Have you heard about this Shetland trip that Mary Jane Mucklestone and Gudrun Johnston are leading next month? I have the pleasure of knowing both of them — have taken classes with both — and got to hang out with Gudrun a bit at Squam last month, and they are truly remarkable people and teachers. Plus: Sheltland! So it’s killing me not to be able to go on this trip. But what’s making it even worse is that the people who are going are some of my favorite and most admired knitters. Those I’m aware of include Kathy Cadigan and Nicole Dupuis (both former Our Tools, Ourselves profilees, as you’ll see from those links); Claire Dupont, who is a favorite of mine on both Ravelry and Instagram (and who has a standing invitation to Our Tools); and Lori Ann Graham from one of my favorite knitterly blogs, Lori Times Five. That’s her above, in the Bressay dress and Hansel shawl she knitted for the trip — both designs of Gudrun’s. (Bressay is from Mary Jane’s book Fair Isle Style.) “Zest for life” is not a phrase I use a lot, but it’s what springs to mind when I think about Lori and her long, photo-filled posts about her latest adventures — be they hiking or knitting or hitting up a festival or flea market somewhere in the world. I so admire her exuberance, and love her theory that “the longer an item takes to make, the more photographs it gets.” At least those of us who can’t go to Shetland — at least not this time! — will get to see Lori’s version. (And I imagine Nicole will blog about it as well.)

I’m also counting on all of these women to be posting copiously on Instagram: @mjmucklestone, @gudrunjohnston, @kathycad, @clairedupont @loritimesfive. If anyone reading this is also going, please point me to your online self!


PREVIOUSLY in Blog Crush: Coletterie

Blog Crush: Coletterie

Blog Crush: Coletterie

I’m kind of in awe of Sarai (I wish I knew how that’s pronounced) Mitnick and her blog Coletterie. Ok, not kind of: I’m in awe. Being founder of Colette Patterns, she’s obviously a master sewer, and she’s an accomplished knitter, too, but she’s really a phenomenal blogger. I’ve mentioned before how wowed I am at how thorough her Wardrobe Architect series has been, but it seems that’s a defining trait of hers. Just look at this post about her brilliant storage system for her vintage pattern collection. The blog is so robust I confess I can only be a spotty reader, but time spent there always leaves me wanting to be both a better sewer and a better blogger.


Blog Crush: A Ervilha Cor de Rosa

Blog Crush: A Ervilha Cor de Rosa

Apparently it’s possible to have a crush on a blog I can’t read, because I’m crazy about Rosa Pomar’s blog A Ervilha Cor de Rosa. I mean, clearly I have a crush on all things Rosa — I’m dying to go to Lisbon and visit her store (and meet her). Her Instagram feed is fantastic enough to leave me always wanting more, as you know, and her blog provides a little more, even if I don’t read Portuguese. Although, not all of the posts are in Portuguese: One of my favorites is this “pattern,” written the way I wish more patterns were — more like annotated charts and schematics and less like step-by-step methods — and it happens to be in English.  I do know about Google Translate, but I sort of love the mystery of the posts, and love looking at the photos and sussing out what I can without the language. Much better than reading butchered robot translations that take the poetry out of everything.

Rosa has an open invitation to Our Tools, Ourselves and I’m holding out hope she’ll take me up on it when she’s ready. Meanwhile, I fervently hope she keeps blogging …