Deep Winter wardrobe: Outfits!

Deep Winter wardrobe: Outfits!

In my ongoing effort to better document how my carefully chosen and lovingly made garments are adding up to a wardrobe, I’ve been trying to take more outfit-of-the-day selfies, so I’m including a half-dozen recent ones here … even though a couple were taken before we really reached Deep Winter status. (I know — my ankles are showing!) In that last photo, I’m wearing all ready-to-wear clothes — a rarity for me these days. The boiled wool sweatshirt is from J.Crew several years ago, when I still bought the occasional unknown-origins item; the vest is the sleeveless Clyde Jacket I mentioned Tuesday having gotten at Elizabeth Suzann’s most recent sample sale; and the jeans are my two-year-old J.Crew made-in-LA ones. The denim vest in the fourth photo is also J.Crew, from years ago. In the first photo, the tunic is handmade but not by me. The rest of these clothes are all knitted or sewn by me. In three out of the six photos, I made everything I’m wearing. That is still astonishing to me every time it happens, even though it’s taken me several years of progressive wardrobe building to be able to say that.

As far as how I’m putting things together this winter, I’m in uniform mode: pick a pullover or cardigan, a top to go under it, and a pair of wide-legs or jeans. Always with the same pair of black boots. (There are some of the November pre-winter outfits that still apply, if you just swap out the flats for boots.) So, for my first hand of Closet Rummy this round, I assembled some combos for these two pullovers:

Deep Winter wardrobe: Outfits!

Then, just to see what happened, I kept the exact same set of tops/pants and just dropped two different pullovers down the line on top of them. Totally works:

Deep Winter wardrobe: Outfits!

Here are the two remaining storebought pullovers in the lineup. The big grey turtleneck is a no-brainer: Just add pants.

Deep Winter wardrobe: Outfits!

With these cardigan outfits, you can allllmost take any combo and just swap out the cardigan for any of the other cardigans and it still works. So these 10 outfits are really closer to 40:

Deep Winter wardrobe: Outfits!

And now I know what I’m wearing for the next 60+ days! Thanks for always indulging me in this little parlor game.

For details on all of the garments pictured here, see my Winter closet inventory.

.

PREVIOUSLY in Wardrobe Planning: Deep Winter closet inventory

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Deep Winter wardrobe: Closet inventory

Deep Winter wardrobe: Closet inventory

Somehow, winter set in without my having had a chance to properly “plan” for it. And whereas normally in January I’m well into a spring-forward frame of mind, we’re having a hard-core winter this year and I have to expect it to hang around awhile. So there’s no mood board, or make list, or any of my usual strategizing to be had. There’s just looking at what garments I have to work with (below) and figuring out how to put them together (coming up) for optimal warmth and comfort.

I actually have a whopping five (technically six) new seasonally-appropriate things in my closet since the last of the Wardrobe Planning posts

– I started and finished my grey Cline pullover and my ivory cardigan
– I finished my natural wool pants
– At Elizabeth Suzann’s December sample sale, I scored a pair of clay canvas Wide Clydes, as I like to call them (they are decidedly not Culottes!), and a navy canvas Clyde Jacket that for some reason was abandoned before receiving sleeves. ($38!!) I adore it.
– And oh yeah, number six was that grey wool sleeveless tee that I haven’t managed to wear yet. Itchy.

And there are two things outstanding: the blue Bellows currently on my needles, which I hope to complete by month’s end, and the purple lopi pullover-to-cardigan conversion, which I’m more motivated to actually act on!

So apart from those two standing in the wings, here’s the full cast of Winter characters—

STARS OF THE ENSEMBLE

Deep Winter wardrobe: Closet inventory

ROW 1fisherman sweater, grey pullover, boiled wool pullover (J.Crew 2014), striped raglan pulloveryoke sweater

ROW 2) vanilla Improv cardigancamel cardiganpurple cardiganblack Improv cardiganblack Sloper turtleneck

ROW 3white linen shellstriped muscle tee, chambray tunic (made for me, unblogged), grey wool tee (questionable, see above), black gauze shell (and tee equiv)

ROW 4) chambray button-up, plaid tee (me-made, unblogged), silk smock (Elizabeth Suzann, 2017), denim vest (J.Crew, ancient), navy canvas vest  (Elizabeth Suzann sample, 2017)]]

ROW 5) natural wide-legs, canvas wide-legs (Elizabeth Suzann sample, 2017), camo wide-legs, dark cropped jeans (J.Crew Point Sur, made in US, 2016), denim wide-legs

SUPPORTING CHARACTERS AND CAMEOS

Deep Winter wardrobe: Closet inventory

My Cowichan-ish vest and Anna vest, my State Smocks, my lone ratty old turtleneck sweater (H&M men’s, 2012), and a ragtag bunch of t-shirts, flannels and other jeans.

I’m in good shape! Outfits coming up …

.

PREVIOUSLY in Wardrobe Planning: November sweater weather

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Top posts and highlights of 2017

Top posts and highlights of 2017

I published only one pattern this year — Sloper, which, like Improv before it, is a pattern-tutorial hybrid — and not surprisingly it was the most popular post I published this year, while Improv continues to be the most popular of all time! (You can scroll through all of the free patterns on the blog right here.) But the top 5 for the year is an interesting mix: that pattern, the year’s biggest event, my meatiest Queue Check, a simple tip for a recurring problem and, somewhat surprisingly, my first pants—

Top 5 posts published in 2017:
1. Sloper: Basic pattern for a sleeveless sweater
2. Summer of Basics Make-along starts now!
3. Queue Check — March 2017: A whole new queue
4. Hot Tip: Bridge the gap
5. FO 10: My first pants

Top 5 from the archives:
1. Improv: Basic pattern/tutorial for a top-down seamless sweater
2. Joining sweater parts at the underarms: Here comes the fun!
3. Fringe Hatalong No. 1: Audrey by Jessie Roselyn
4. Pullovers for first-timers: Or, an introduction to sweater construction
5. Super Simple Mitts

Some personal highlights:

– Boldly cutting the body off my St. Brendan sweater and reworking it to my liking (finished sweater here)

– Finishing my Channel cardigan just in time to take it on my first trip abroad, to Paris

The Sloper knitalong — always so fun to see what you guys do with my patterns

Summer of Basics, again, as it totally changed my sewing life and my closet — plus finally knitting that fisherman sweater I’d been blogging about for five years

Squam (my first real time teaching knitting!)

Making jeans!

– The whole October 20×30 thing — all of this year’s Wardrobe Planning, actually

– And every response you guys leave on Q for You — I don’t generally have time to respond to them all as they’re so voluminous, but I absolutely love reading them.

.

It’s been a robust year for Our Tools, Ourselves and Hot Tips, among other things that are worth scrolling back through. This year, I’ve added How To to the top menu of the blog, for all of the tips and tutorials in one place, and I also introduced The Details, starting with my highly pleasing folded neckband join and a patch pocket tutorial. And I’m SO EXCITED for the Log Cabin Make-Along that kicks off on New Year’s Day!

I also want to say a huge thank-you to my contributors this year, Jess Schreibstein, Katrina Rodabaugh and Hannah Thiessen. It’s been a treat having their voices here on the blog, but I’ve decided next year to get back to just me musing about whatever I’m musing about! So please tell me: What were your favorite posts or series of the year? And what do you hope for more of in 2018?

And if you would take a minute to tell your friends about the blog or some specific component of it — at knit night or on social media or wherever — I would truly appreciate it. I’ll be back tomorrow with my headed-into-2018 Queue Check!

.

PREVIOUSLY in Year-end: Favorite New Favorites, Knitting year in review, Sewing year in review

SaveSave

Q for You: What’s your knit-stitch happy place?

Q for You: What's your knit-stitch happy place?

I was telling some friends recently that the impediment to my finishing this Cline sweater as quickly as I’d like is that it makes me narcoleptic — I literally nod off right there on the couch. I always find stockinette dull (albeit occasionally in a refuge sort of way), but this is an actual sedative. Something about the soft yarn, the soothing grey heather, the stockinette motion. The fabric is a total dream, and I am actually still making pretty good time on it — and I have no doubt the finished sweater will be ace — but from a knitting perspective, it’s making me antsy, desperate for escape into something more satisfying.

In between nods I’ve been contemplating what it is that brings me that satisfaction. Is it a particular stitch pattern or type of knitting — cables, knits-and-purls, colorwork? It’s not about complexity, per se, but it is about watching the fabric develop and being wowed by it. The most pleasing projects are the ones where I can’t put it away at night — I find myself spreading it out on the couch next to me, petting it, admiring my progress, imagining those next few inches. But it’s also about my brain being able to settle into a rhythm — to identify a melody and hum along with it, as it were. I like stitch patterns that are the equivalent of earworms, whatever they might be. So whether it’s a memorizable cable motif or knit-purl combination, that’s my happy place as a knitter. (Peak examples being Channel, Gentian, Bernat.) And that’s my Q for You today: What gives you that sense of satisfaction as you stitch? Do you sink happily into stockinette, thrill to a challenging cable or lace chart, crave seeing colorwork patterning form in front of you? What’s your happy place.

EDITED TO ADD: I woke up this morning thinking about something I read a few months ago about “flow,” that state where your brain is happily humming along. This line stood out for me, and rings true: “This model suggests that we’re most easily able to enter a state of flow when we’re faced with a task that requires both a high level of perceived skill and offers us a challenge …” So flow comes from your brain being able to settle into a a groove but at a level where it’s like “this takes some skill” and “I got this” at the same time. I think that’s the difference between monotony and bliss! And why I’m reasonably happy knitting stockinette if I’m tracking spaced increases or something for my brain to groove on, just the littlest bit.

Pretty little gifts for knitters and others

IN SHOP NEWS: We’re still shipping over at Fringe Supply Co.! Within the US, we ship via Priority Mail, so in theory you can order through Wednesday morning and hope to have your package by Christmas Eve. Still, why tempt fate? We’d love to get your holiday gifts shipped off asap, if we haven’t already. In addition to knockout favorites like Field Bags and Lykke needle sets, we’ve got lots of great stocking stuffers, knitting group gifts, secret santa offerings: pretty little tools and balms, gorgeous notebooks, a variety of tool pouches, and who doesn’t love a gift certificate? If you need any help or advice, just ask! And thank you SO MUCH for all of your support this season and always.

Happy weekend, everyone—

.

PREVIOUSLY in Q for You:  What’s your favorite buttonhole method?

SaveSave

SaveSave

Q for You: What is your favorite buttonhole method?

Q for You: What is your favorite buttonhole method?

You know that thing where you decide to knit a buttonband on an airplane and wind up with no buttonholes? Here’s how it happened:

As you can see, I’ve put a picked-up garter-stitch band on this gem I’ve been knitting. As I was sitting on the flight to Rhinebeck, chatting away with Meg, I sort of unthinkingly knitted my favorite buttonhole — of the slot-shaped, bind-off/cast-on variety — losing track, for the moment, of the fact that that only works on a vertical band (such as my Anna Vest). Running up and down, in knitted fabric, a slot buttonhole like that would just pull right open. I realized it as soon as I’d done it, promptly ripped out those rows, and then puzzled for a minute over what to do. I don’t mind a yarnover buttonhole (in all its minute variations) in a case where it’s sort of lost in the fabric. You can barely see them in my black cardigan, for instance, but they disappoint me a little bit in my camel cardigan, where they’re more evident. That YO hole just doesn’t look as tidy as I’d like, and I knew on light-colored fabric like this, and at this gauge, I would not be happy seeing them. So what’s an impatient knitter on an airplane to do? Leave them out, of course. Knit on, and figure it out later.

You know I love to try new stuff, and I had the thought that it would be fun to try machine-sewn buttonholes, which would give me exactly the neat and tidy slots I want for it. Alas, only after knitting a swatch to test the idea did I realize the fabric is much too thick to even fit under the buttonhole foot of my machine in the first place! Curses. So I guess the new thing I get to try is EZ’s afterthought buttonhole. (At least I already have a swatch to practice on!)

All of this got me thinking about buttonholes in their endless (never quite satisfying to me) variety! Which brings me to my Q for You: What is your favorite buttonhole method(s), and why? I look forward to your responses!

(Bone buttons via Fringe Supply Co.)

IN SHOP NEWS: A few of our long-awaited copies of Woods finally arrived. This is a big, beautiful book with lots of great patterns, profiles, essays … and an interview with me about sweater construction. Hopefully the rest of our order will materialize soon, but we do have some in the shop at the moment, if you’re quick. (I’ll let you know if/when we get more!) Thank you for your excitement about the new notebooks and all your lovely anniversary wishes this week. And if you haven’t had a chance to browse through the Winter 2017 Lookbook yet, I hope you’ll take a moment to do so!

Have a great weekend — see you next week.

.

PREVIOUSLY in Q for You: What’s your picky fit detail?

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Q for You: What’s your picky fit detail?

Q for You: What's your picky fit detail?

I’m pretty sure we all have a pet peeve or two, garment-wise — the little fit detail that can make the difference between most-worn and never-worn. Last weekend, I was posting on Instagram all the gory details of how I’m nailing down the exact length of the sleeves on this vanilla cardigan. Sleeves and neck shaping are the two potential deal-breakers for me. I can’t stand a garment that shifts around on me during the day, requiring me to tug at the neckline all the time, and same goes for sleeves. I want them out of my way, which means they’re either pushed up or rolled up most of the time. If a cuff is too wide to stay put when they’re pushed up — creating that perpetual push-and-slide scenario — I might actually lose my mind. And if they puddle on my hands when they’re pulled down, I definitely will. As I said the other day, I find this matter of sleeve length just that much more important on an oversized sweater like this. I want this cardigan to be nice and slouchy; I don’t want to look (or feel) like I’m swimming in it.

For me, that difference can be like a half an inch, and even though I have a blocked swatch and correct gauge and good math and preferred dimensions and all of that, no two sweaters sit or hang on the body precisely the same way. So since this one is top-down, what I’ve done is knitted one sleeve to just before the bind-off point and blocked it. Once I put it on, it was easy to see that it’s 6 or 7 rows too long — it already covers the top of my hand even without the bind-off row, whereas I want it to hit right at my wrist bone. So I’m ripping back the sleeve to 7 rows before the cuff, redoing the ribbing, and then it should be perfect. And I won’t have to worry about being institutionalized over a sleeve! It’s an easy enough thing to nail, and worth taking a minute to get it right.

So that’s my Q for You today: What’s the make-or-break fit detail for you — whether it’s a hat, socks, sweaters, whatever — and what do you do (or do you?) to get it just so?

.

PREVIOUSLY in Q for You: What do you do with your unworn FOs?

SaveSave

Wardrobe Planning: November sweater weather!

Wardrobe Planning: November sweater weather!

We went from days of sleevelessness to boots and sweater weather almost simultaneously with setting back the clocks. Sunday was the most perfect early-Fall day imaginable — trees in full color, the ground littered with leaves, and a breezy 78 degrees — and we literally woke up to cold and rainy early winter on Monday morning. The funny part is that on Sunday I was telling myself It’s cool, no need to be in a hurry, and was mapping out an outfit plan in my head that was all about faking sweater weather. (E.g. cowichan vest with tank dress and boots!) Then whoosh, and suddenly I’m standing in front of the closet dumbfounded and planless again.

Here’s the thing I’ve noticed while doing these wardrobe plans over the past year: They’ve slowed down my drive to make or acquire new things and have shown me how to get more mileage (i.e. more outfit combinations) out of the things I own. There’s still that old habit, though, of looking ahead to what’s new or in-progress or on my wish list rather than just concentrating on what I already own. And now there’s this whole new element of having laid out so many outfits over the past year that have never even been worn! So this next little plan is all about going backwards — digging up the unworn outfits, the favorite combos from the past few seasons, and the things that can become new again with just the addition of a cardigan or jacket, a switch from sandals to boots. And this time — for the first time since I began this — I’m not including anything in the plan that’s currently a WIP. Which means I’m also only thinking through the end of November, keeping it a little light still, and yes, looking forward to having my vanilla cardigan and natural wool pants to play with in December.

Wardrobe Planning: November sweater weather!
Wardrobe Planning: November sweater weather!
Wardrobe Planning: November sweater weather!
Wardrobe Planning: November sweater weather!
Wardrobe Planning: November sweater weather!

For details on all of the garments pictured, see my Fall Closet Inventory + camo/denim toddler pants post coming as soon as the natural ones are finished (soon!), but they’re all basically the same as the olive pair, with assorted variations. The black ankle boots are Everlane, and the tan flats are identical to my silver ones, handmade by Solid State Studios. An early holiday treat for myself!

.

PREVIOUSLY in Wardrobe Planning: 20×30 outfits and after-thoughts

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave