shop till you stop

31 July 2007

sewingbooks

A little celebration today: I made it through two months of Wardrobe Refashion! (Which, for those who don’t know, is a pledge to abstain from purchasing new mass-produced clothing. Thrifted, refashioned and handmade clothing only, for two, four or six months – see here for more details).

It was quite an enlightening experience, not shopping. A few days before starting Wardrobe Refashion, I ran round the shops every lunch time, thinking “must buy something, because I can’t for TWO WHOLE MONTHS from 1 June. Must buy!”. On 1 June, it felt like a burden lifted from my shoulders. I had time to go to the park or the art gallery at lunchtimes. I didn’t feel obliged to check out the yearly June/July sales so that I could ‘save’ by spending money on things I don’t need. I didn’t have to fret about this season’s fashion not suiting me. I wasn’t emerging dishevelled and depressed from the changing room, feeling inadequate because my hips never fit into pants, no matter what the label.

I’m aspiring to textures and fabrics and cuts rather than brands and prices. When a piece of clothing in a shop catches my eye, I tend to see how it could be improved, copied, changed into something else, something better, something that will match my brown skirt, somthing that could feature those vintage buttons I’ve been saving. Browsing the crafty blogs fills me with more ideas; and I’m starting to wonder if there’ll ever be enough time to make all the things I want to.

I feel more confident with my sewing skills. I feel happier with my style. I feel happier with my body.
And I’ve started coming out of the crafty closet.
Hello. It’s nice to meet you.

socks for my feets

29 July 2007

socksfinal

black and grey striped socks, using Jigsaw sock yarn.

I hope you appreciate that photo because I had to go through amazing contortions to get it – lying on my back on the couch with my feet waving in the air. I didn’t have a pattern for these, I kind of made it up and found an on-line tutorial to do the heel. Next time, I’ll not make the leg part rib – it doesn’t look good on and it is slower than stocking stitch.

They’re very light and cosy and I love how they hug my feet. It’s fun to knit something that’s finished quickly. Not quite instant gratification but much more instant that making a jumper.

envy

19 July 2007

poppy

Finally I’ve got my blogroll together for this blog (WordPress being a touch picky about allowing java apps and therefore requiring me to put every link in manually. It’s just like the old days of html 1.0 and geocities, no?). Scroll down to the bottom to see it (WordPress being a touch picky about allowing me to play with the template).

When I do the rounds of my favourite craft and design blogs, I get an impression of tranquillity. Of long days without hurry, filled with beautiful objects and the elation of creating. Of time. Of taking time. Of there being time to take. Even when I look at my blog.

Perhaps my blog’s a way of pretending to myself that I live this tranquil unhurried life. A fantasy where the tyranny of full-time paid work doesn’t dominate, an electronic ‘la-la-la I can’t hear you’? (It might just be ego and ‘look at me!’) Or maybe my blog’s a shrine to a part of life I value – it venerates the short times when I can take time. I find myself envying the bloggers I visit, because you only show me that one side of your life, the beautiful quiet inspired part of your existence. And I believe you, that it’s like that.

dress for success

19 July 2007

I started a new job last week. In the large induction manual on my desk was a code of conduct, most of which was about not stealing things and playing nicely with others. And one short paragraph about employees being expected to ‘maintain a standard of dress generally acceptable to the business community’. No further information than that.

This has been niggling at me all week, particularly when I am trying to get dressed in the morning. Does this mean a suit? (I only have one suit, it’s a summer suit, and I don’t particularly like it any). Does it mean a jacket? (I have a couple of jackets, but they are hell to type in). Does it just mean ‘no jeans’? (turns out they allow jeans on Fridays). Who is this ‘business community’ anyway and who are they to tell me what’s acceptable to wear?

My colleagues in the new job are mostly men. It’s easy for them: one pair of polyester pants, one button-up shirt (ironed) and a tie in their desk drawer for appointments. On Friday, replace polyester pants with jeans. The end.

But me? There’s some subtle line out there, one side of which is ‘business’ and the other ‘casual’. But it’s not a line I understand, it seems to move, and loop back onitself, and twist about and disappear altogether. Take my red skirt:

red skirt 2

Is it ‘casual’ because it’s corduroy? Because it has jean-style pockets, fly and top-stitching? Or, if worn with a jacket, a button-up shirt and nice shoes, can it morph into ‘business’?

What about my grey skirt? Can look very business, being sober in colour and design. But I have no jacket to match it – does that push it back over the ‘casual’ line?

grey skirt

Jeans. Somewhere there is a stone tablet on which is carved ‘thy jeans shall never be other than casual’. I beg to differ. I can look smarter and more business-like in a pair of (clean, dark) jeans, boots and a jacket, than I can often manage in any of my other clothing. Why have we taken against this pair of pants and made it shorthand for ‘unacceptable’? What makes jeans jeans? The pockets? The top-stitching? Denim? What?

Suits. There’s another stone tablet on which is carved ‘thou shalt be all one colour and texture’. This is what I hate about suits. There’s nothing to suggest that I may have legs or arms, an upper body or lower body. In a suit, I am a head and a pair of hands poking out of a uniform fabric lump. I feel like a sofa.

Perhaps that’s the definition of the line. Casual: others can see that you have a body and personality which may be differently shaped to others’. Business: you have a head and the rest of you is a monotone blob which is completely interchangeable with any other blob on the market. The question for me is: how much of a blob am I willing to be?

Edited to add: This article about dressing for success gives me the heebie-jeebies. Whatever happened to being judged on your talents/?

happy feet

15 July 2007

I’ve been making socks.

socksculpture
A half-done sock masquerading as a sculpture.

halfsock
My feet masquerading as waxworks.

The problem with socks? There’s a tremendous sense of achivement when one is complete, until you realise you still have to make another one.

onesock

I’m excited about these socks though:
Hundertwasser socks
Hundertwasser socks from EcoYarns. Maybe for next time?