Most of my spring, summer, and autumn days are spent in welly boots and earth-stained blue jeans. Even when I don a sundress, eventually duty calls for a quick change and my denim clad knees are once again in garden dirt. Of course, I love our homefarming life and wouldn’t change a thing about it. And as the seasons change, the oft-dreaded start of winter weather arrives offering many good reasons to feel appreciation, a break from the laborious garden being the most obvious one. Another less obvious reason being clean, comfy, and cozy fabrics to wear.
One of my most favourite things about this time of year is the wardrobe that’s in season– wool, corduroy, leather, and velvet, worn with ribbed cotton turtlenecks, cable knit sweater dresses, and knee-high suede boots worn over thick woolly tights. But this isn’t meant to be a commentary on fashion. What I’m really talking about here are textiles. I love fabrics, adore the scent and ‘hand’ of different fibres, and if it’s going to be against my skin then I prefer natural materials over man-made synthetics.
The Irish Indian summer is over and this last week we’ve been having strong winds and off and on heavy rain. It’s not bitter cold yet, but it’s just not pleasant to be outside. So, for now, I’m finding perfect peace and happiness with being forced by nature to stay inside the house.
I spent the inclement weather in my favourite room of the house surrounded by my creative accoutrements– shelves of fabric, spools of thread, boxes of yarn, machines, patterns, hooks, needles, and varietal crafting notions. Here’s what I worked on through the week…
Next is a trifold wallet I designed as a birthday gift for a six-year old boy. Nuala picked out the fabric and helped me sew it.
Even with a low watt bulb, my youngest son’s reading lamp was too bright without a lampshade. This uses a frame that I got at a second-hand store. Again, I used waterproof ripstop for this project. No pattern; I just winged it and it fit like a glove.
I really dislike acrylic and dismiss buying items that have more than twenty percent of it listed in its fibre content. Experience has taught me not to waste money on things that will only briefly look good before they begin to pill and look old and worn. I have wool sweaters that were purchased second hand, and at fifteen years old, they still look as good as new while I’ve tossed out their ragged acrylic counterparts after barely a couple years.
That said, crocheting since childhood, I have accumulated dozens of skeins of acrylic blend yarn over the years and this next project, a work in progress, is a great way to use them up. It will need special attention when laundering but I’ll do what I have to do. It uses wool and cotton blend yarns as well. I’m hopeful it won’t be an example of how you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear (you can’t make a quality product out of inferior materials).
I started this blanket over a year ago, set it aside until recently, and now I can’t seem to put it down. With 92 hexagons completed, It is nearly halfway finished. I don’t have an exact number in mind to make, I’ll just know when it’s big enough. The pattern for this afghan can be found here at Attic 24.
grey skies covered in
clouds with a silver lining
reveal bright rainbows
Purchasing decisions should be made considering much more than aesthetics. It’s nice when something is pleasant to the eye, but more importantly, whatever is designed using textiles** should not only function properly, it should also withstand the test of time. While there are exceptions to this rule, the current fabric of society (the structure that holds it together) revolves around making a profit through commercialism and we shouldn’t settle for poor quality disposable goods made of cheap materials that line landfills sooner than later and are made by people not earning a decent wage. Think about owning fewer things but better quality. Real value comes from purchases that have the potential to last long and respects those who produce it. It makes good cents for your wallet, and good sense for humanity and the environment. Whether as a crafter, an artisan, or a consumer, knowledge is power and it pays to pay attention to the nature of a textile you are considering owning. Sometimes spending more money now is saving money later; other times it’s just the right thing to do.
On a lighter note, I’ll end with a bit o’ fyi.
** Did you know textiles are anything knitted or woven or made into a type of fibre? They’re everywhere, a common thread throughout the world. Rugs, space suits, car tires, linens, footballs, rope, stuffed teddies, fuel hoses, golf clubs, artificial body parts, fishing poles, parachutes, furniture, wires and cables, seat belts, bike seats, duct tape, supersonic airplane parts, the list goes on and on and on. And not just from cotton or wool or silk or man-made materials like nylon or rayon or polyester, but also fibres of asbestos, carbon, glass, and stainless steel. We live in a world made up of textiles, and the world we live in, we live in on account of textiles.
The above haiku poem is part of Ronovan Writes weekly challenge which I thoroughly enjoy participating in. His words this week are ‘cover & colour’. Hop on over to his website and check out what others were inspired to write.
Cheers, Melissa Xx