Overdressed – A move away from cheap and nasty clothing

I love this article as it represents a move that I have already undertaken, that of making more of my own clothes.

It began with my frustration of wearing out clothing in certain spots, which if thought of in a mathematical viewpoint would only be classed as 10% or less. How seriously un-eco-friendly is it to throw out a pair of socks, simply because you’ve worn through a toe? Or throw out a pair of jeans because you’ve rubbed the thighs so thin they’re now indecent (for those of us who have larger thighs!).

At first, it started with simple things; I’m an avid skiier and FIRMLY believe in the necessity of decent, good quality ski socks like Smartwool, NZ Sock Co, or Wigwam, but found regardless of only wearing them in my ski boots or on extremely cold days (lets at least be honest!) that after a season, I had worn through the heels and the balls of the socks, therefore rendering them useless. So I took up darning! I have been able to stretch my ski socks into three more seasons since then and have had to darn during each season, but I have saved approx. $40 per pair, each year.

With jeans, I have taken to threading my sewing machine with dark navy thread, finding some patches of denim and putting them on the inside of the thighs and then using a zig-zag stitch, have completely quilted the patch and the jeans together. While this feels bulky and uncomfortable for the first couple of wearings, after a few washes, it’s hardly noticeable, and I take delight in the fact the my jeans now last more than three months.



Knitting socks for Emmaly

Emmaly playing with her sock

Emmaly playing with her sock

I knitted my first sock when I was 12, but after only knitting one, I gave up. I tried again in the next 10 years, but would only ever knit one, or the second sock that I knitted, while made using the same yarn, needles, pattern and knitter, inevitably looked much different from the first one leading to a world of dissatisfied feelings.

Socks, needles and yarn

Socks in progress with hand spun yarn and Addi Pro needles

From there I segued from knitting to spinning yarn with a homemade cd spindle, and then on to spinning yarn with a spinning wheel and then came full circle back to socks. But this time, I had a new trick to try, which has kept me knitting socks for the last 7 years!

I read on a pattern from the website Knitty – Blackrose that there was a technique called Magic Loop, and you could not only knit two at a time, but you could also use one circular knitting needle to do so. Ever since that moment I’ve been a fond knitter of socks, for a few reasons, the decisions you make while you knit are easier to remember from one sock to the next, and when you’re finished you have TWO instead of having to go and knit the second one, and they are an incredibly portable project and can be worked on anywhere. I’ve even knitted on planes post-9/11 (I do check with the airline in advance and again at check in, that I can use them onboard).

Ribbed tops

Socks, showing their ribbed tops

I’m knitting these socks for Emmaly to use this winter when she comes skiing with me. These socks have been knit from the toe up using the magic loop technique and then knit in the round until the heel which has been done in two lots of short rows and then knit in the round using a 2 x 1 rib (knit two, purl 1). This is my favourite method of knitting socks, but there are plenty to try with different combinations of toes and heels, and I’ve found that Knitty.com is an amazing source for inspiration, patterns and tips.

I spun the yarn using some lovely Possum and Merino wool that I bought online from Tally Ho Wool Carding which spins up so easily into fingering weight that I did several 100gm lots, and the knitting needles are 2mm Addi Pro that I purchased in store from Crafty Knitwits, which have been lovely to work with, other than the fact that apparently I am still a little too tense with knitting and have to keep straightening the needles and relaxing my hands.

Addi Pro Knitting Needles

Addi Pro Knitting Needles

I’m hoping that in the next week I will have knitted enough to come up her calf and being able to cast these off and get my loom back into my room!

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