Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Embracing the Slow Path

The swatch for Mary Jane Mucklestone's Craftsy class on Fair Isle Vests.  It's a new beginning.

I've been thoughtful as of late on the idea of slow fashion.  After viewing the movie The True Cost which chronicles the path of our clothing and how fast fashion (i.e. new clothing styles every month of cheap clothes) is costing others their health, their environment and even their lives.  Before watching I kinda knew some of the issues with cheap clothing, but this movie really brings home it's point.  It wasn't all a downer though.  They showcased some solutions.  People Tree fair trade clothing was one trying to create a new model for how their clothing is created.  I would even purchase from them if they made clothing in a big enough size (a problem I find often with fair trade clothing.)  Well, all this to say I started questioning the speed of my knitting and that perhaps I should slow it down a bit.

As I wrote in this post I went on a retreat this past Autumn to learn faster more efficient knitting techniques.  I just always seem to want to make more then I can in a year.  Sometimes even choosing simpler patterns so I can go faster - the garter stitch shawl is a good example as purling slows a lot of us down.  Social Media seems to push us all to do more, more, more as we share our projects.  It's simply not as fun showing the same knitting project week after week.  But, now I think it's time for a change, at least for me, to pick my knitting patterns with more care and only knit that which I absolutely love, will wear and that fits my life.  And if it's a really difficult time consuming pattern that is fine - I have time, there is no rush.  I'm not naked in winter needing clothing instantly.  I have a closet and chest full.  It begs the question "How many sweaters, cowls, hats etc do I really need?"

After helping a relative clean out her closet I was amazed at her amassed clothing, shoes and coats and couldn't see how she could possibly wear all of it in a year's time.  Even in my own meager wardrobe (our house was built in 1945 so closets are very, very small) there are items I do not get around to wearing in a year.  In the US we are so conditioned that more is better, but I'm wondering if the opposite is true.  I've been working on this a while with my wardrobe, but thought nothing of it when it comes to my knitting.  Out of all the items I've knit I really only wear one sweater constantly all winter, have one cowl that goes with everything, and use only 2 sets of mittens and hats.  I think part of the problem is understanding yourself and what clothing really truly fits you and your lifestyle.  I'm an at home mom who wears jeans all day, and doesn't like tight or fussy clothing, yet I find myself constantly attracted to shawls I never wear or Vintage or dressy sweaters that wouldn't suit our cold Minnesota winters.  

So, what to do?  Well, I think the main thing for me is to simply focus on what I'm knitting now, enjoy the process and bag the idea of a deadline.  I'm always planning ahead and thinking of where I want to get to, in a certain time frame and I think therein lies my problem.  I'm going to try and finish a sweater for my mom and a scarf for a friend for Christmas then back to knitting for enjoyment without a deadline or looking to the next project.  If I can stop judging myself by what I accomplish and complete I think I'm in for some major changes - some really good changes.  

Wishing you all some peace during this busy holiday season.

Joining in with Ginny for Yarn Along.


  1. I love this post! I watched the true cost with my children and husband months ago and it really makes me think....hard. I never did attach it to my knitting though! I am knew to knitting and have yet to make very many projects but was already feeling this urge to make make make. This really changes the way I view my knits! thank you!

  2. beautiful post! Mindful buying, collecting, knitting is daily intention stop for me. It sounds natural, and easy but how I can struggle with the doing part. Thanks for your post.

  3. That is a beautiful swatch. I enjoyed your post I think we all, buy more clothing than we need. I tend to wear the same things over and over because I feel comfortable in them. Most of the things I have knit for myself never get worn, solution I knit/crochet for charity then I can make as much as I like knowing that my makes will go to where they are really needed. :)

  4. I just love this post. I am completely with you. We Americans do think more is better. Even those of us who are trying to move away from this find ourselves sucked into the consumer culture. Sometimes I find myself buying something I like even though I know I do not need it!
    I have been culling things out of my wardrobe for a year. Even though I have taken boxes (plural!) to Goodwill, I have too many clothes.