Well, firstly because I had a helluva time getting the sleeves to work. I blithely assumed kimono sleeves would be simple and just used the body of the StyleArc Sabel cardigan for a pattern. I ended up doing a lot of tweaking along the side seams to try to get a little more room in the sleeves. It’s definitely wearable but kind of looks like it has T-rex arms on the hanger.
Secondly, I feel like I entered into too gray of an area of copying with this. I thought making it would be similar to my Madewell knockoffs, where I feel cool for replicating a look and saving money, but I wore it to work and everyone oohed and ahhed over the fabric and the giant pockets and I just felt…flat. I couldn’t take credit for the good ideas of either.
Do I still love it? Yes. That fabric–Nani Iro “Beautiful Life–is what made me want to make it in the first place (I found maybe the last of the b&w canvas colorway from here). There’s moons and stars and planetary rings and TINY. COSMIC. HORSES.
Maybe the next time I want to copy something so closely, I’ll just buy the fabric and let my ideas percolate a little more.
I made the call that it would be too sloppy and too worrisome to head into the canyons (seriously, the Wasatch Front gets all its water from mountain snow melt and this year there just…isn’t any). Instead, we took a tip from Austin Kleon’s blog and found things of interest within a two-mile radius of our house: an accountant’s precise signage, a cemetery, the grocery store’s most excellent chalk art.
1. This is from 2015 but it’s great: “Works in Progress,” aka eleven female artists in their 80s and 90s who are just now receiving popular acclaim. Make something every day, even when you’re 99!
2. Quincy Jones in Conversation is full of gossip and swearing and crazy-old-man-ness but you just can’t stop reading–and he knows his music. I love his opinions on formal training:
Musical principles exist, man. Musicians today can’t go all the way with the music because they haven’t done their homework with the left brain. Music is emotion and science. You don’t have to practice emotion because that comes naturally. Technique is different. If you can’t get your finger between three and four and seven and eight on a piano, you can’t play. You can only get so far without technique. People limit themselves musically, man. Do these musicians know tango? Macumba? Yoruba music? Samba? Bossa nova? Salsa? Cha-cha?
This is a wonderful quote from Agatha Christie’s autobiography (via the always-interesting Swiss Miss). I’m still reading what I now refer to as The Book and the final chapters boil down to making your time your own again. Like this:
“There is nothing more wonderful to have in one’s life, than time…You wake up in the morning, and even before you are properly awake you are saying to yourself: ‘Now, what shall I do with today?’ You have the choice, it is there, in front of you, and you can plan as you please. I don’t mean that there were not a lot of things (duties, we called them) I had to do–of course there were […] but they were all things that lay in my choice, to arrange as I pleased. I could plan my day, I could say, ‘I think I’ll leave my stockings until this afternoon; I will go down town in the morning and I will come back by the other road and see whether that tree had come into blossom yet.’
Always when I woke up, I had the feeling which I am sure must be natural to all of us, a joy in being alive. I don’t say you feel it consciously–you don’t–but there you are, you are alive, and you open your eyes, and here is another day; another step, as it were, on your journey to an unknown place. That very exciting journey which is your life. Not that it is necessarily going to be exciting as a life, but it will be exciting to you because it is your life. That is one of the great secrets of existence, enjoying the gift of life that has been given to you.”
Rocket summer. The words passed among the people in the open, airing houses. Rocket summer. The warm desert air changing the frost patterns on the windows, erasing the art work. The skis and sleds suddenly useless. The snow, falling from the cold sky upon the town, turned to a hot rain before it touched the ground.
Rocket summer. People leaned from their dripping porches and watched the reddening sky.
The rocket lay on the launching field, blowing out pink clouds of fire and oven heat. The rocket stood in the cold winter morning, making summer with every breath of its mighty exhausts. The rocket made climates, and summer lay for a brief moment upon the land….
(Quote from Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles, from the opening vignette “Rocket Summer,” set in February 2030; image from Space News. If you didn’t see the Falcon Heavy launch yesterday, go watch it. Incredible.)
This is the Toaster Sweater from Sew House Seven made up in a really gorgeous thick, spongy cotton/modal sweatshirting from We Are The Fabric Store in NZ. (I blew my Christmas money on a big order from there to get free shipping and I was so impressed with the quality of everything.)
I thought the pattern would be fairly basic and didn’t anticipate using the instructions much. It was an easy sew, but the designer had a lot of nice tips in there, especially about using a twin needle to topstitch the seams:
I made a straight size M and ended up interfacing the inside of the collar, so it would stand up a little better. I also took off 3/8″ on the seam between the cuff and the sleeve but the length is still a little generous–and my arms are fairly long, so normal-armed people, beware.
This first project on the list is a roaring success: It’s casual but not as casual as a normal sweatshirt, I made it start to finish in about four hours, and it’s warm but not hot. And it looks like Madewell but wasn’t made in a sweatshop!
“The clog, comfortable on levels both physical and spiritual, has for me come to stand for an existence untethered to the corporate grind. Clog life is not lived off the grid but grid-adjacent. It’s a fuzzy, fancy realm, littered with alpaca sweaters, Rachel Cusk novels, and trees that grow indoors, in charmingly primitive ceramic pots.”
2. Current mood/I need this:
It is Imbolc today, the “cross-quarter” day between Solstice and Equinox. Granted, we’ve had a worryingly mild winter, but yesterday I saw bulbs coming up on the south side of a building downtown, and this morning–no joke–I heard a robin.
We’re nearly out of the darkness. We got this.