As I mentioned last week, I’ve decided to challenge myself to knit a pair of socks every month for a year. When I started knitting, I had the thought and hope that I’d make a lot of socks (something you can’t really make as a seamstress.) But oddly enough, after almost three years, I don’t feel like I have knit that many. I have an armful of yarn ready to be knit into socks (some with patterns in mind already, others just waiting for that perfect pairing) but always seem to cast on for different projects instead.
Overall, I’m doing this for myself and will knit alone if I have to. But if you’d like to join me, I’d love the company and camaraderie. You’re welcome to make your own minor rules. For instance, I’m aiming for a whole year/12 pairs of socks but if you just want to commit to a few months, maybe even just here and there, that’s fine. But try to stick with the main rule of completing a pair of socks within a month. (I’m actually directing this mostly at myself, notorious for starting projects but not finishing them.) If you’re interested, I’ve set up a page here on my blog for you to share your progress and completed socks here.
For this first month, I’ve cast on for another pair of Warm and Cozy Socks which will be gifted to a relative. The worsted weight held double (and the fact that I’ve already made three pair in the past) will hopefully make reaching my deadline a little easier.
I made some bunting for my studio a little while ago. I was inspired by the bunting in Handmade Home. It’s made from secondhand corduroy and calico scraps.
Sorry for not being so wordy today. My brain is a little fizzled from a busy weekend.
See you tomorrow.
Well, I’m happy to report that I am three months into my challenge and still going strong. Apart from having to buy this laptop, I haven’t bought anything new! I’ve noticed this challenge has given me an excuse to browse Etsy and eBay endlessly. Whenever I give in and purchase/bid, I think, it’s OK, it’s for the challenge! Oh boy! Need to stop that!
I haven’t been thrifting yet because I’m never impressed with our Salvation Army. Besides it’s in an area I don’t travel to much. Though I think I heard there is a little consignment store right in our bitty town and one more in the next town over!
I also realized I haven’t splurged on any new fabric (besides solids and linens and other staples) since January! I have however bought some vintage fabric—but that was…wait for it…February!
That’s seven months! And I still haven’t put a decent dent in my current stash!
As I mentioned, I have a thing for making drawstring bags lately. So it was a little predictable that I make the lingerie carry-all in Simple Sewing with a French Twist. I’ve had this book for quite a few years, oohhed and aahed over the prettiness but never attempted anything from it. I like that there are cute little illustrations for the various steps. This project was plenty easy to figure out and construct. Like I often do, I skipped copying the template provided in the back of the book (because you have to enlarge it by like 250% and that is such a pain) and instead just eyeballed the shape.
I’m an incurable homebody so I don’t foresee myself needing a travel lingerie carry-all too often, so it’ll probably find another use. I think it may get hung up and hold some bits and bobs in my studio.
The front is an Amy Butler print while the back and lining are a secondhand pink cotton. The strings are simple cotton twill tape.
So, I finally decided to take the plunge. I’ve been flirting with this idea for a while now. What idea, you ask? Well, the idea that one only buys secondhand, vintage, or handmade for a year. (I’m sure you’ve heard of Dottie Angel’s Challenge of the Utmost Kind! You haven’t? Well, do click here and learn more!)
I have to be honest, I like to shop. I like things. I like getting new things—or I should clarify, new-to-me things. I used to be a very conscientious consumer. I boycotted Wal-Mart (still do), bought from companies like American Apparel, shopped secondhand. But somehow, I got lazy and started buying more and not caring where it came from. This is partly because I started to enjoy developing my personal style and wanted to wear more dresses and skirts. My wardrobe full of jeans and tees seemed boring and I started shopping for new looks.
This challenge shouldn’t be too hard (though only time will tell.) I’m not a big consumer to begin with. There are probably four main things I spend money on (beyond bills and necessities), and I feel they all better me in one way or another. Books to make me think, music to make me feel, clothes to express myself and fabric to help me create. I rarely travel or eat out or go to the movies nor do I indulge in the latest techno gadgets. I live with my parents* so I don’t have to buy household stuff—though I’d like to keep an eye out for cute vintage items I might want in my future home.
Obviously, things like undergarments will still be bought new. (Though, I did just stock up and if my undies become threadbare, I plan to attempt to make some of my own or shop Etsy or American Apparel.) I was hoping to limit it to that, but I’ve realized, for the sake of sanity I need two other exemptions in this challenge. When you’re 6’ with a size 12 shoe, you have to snatch things up when you find them. So if I spot the perfect shoe new somewhere, I may buy it. Or if Gap has a really awesome sale, I may get a pair of jeans/pants. However, I’ve been having fun hunting for vintage shoes on eBay and I don’t wear pants too often, so I don’t forsee this being a big issue—but one worth mentioning and clarifying anyway. I am thinking I may even treat myself to the occasional thing from small indie boutiques like ModCloth, Ruche, etc. But overall, I’m hoping to add more handmade and vintage to my wardrobe.
As for books and music: I rarely buy new books. I get them used or borrow from the library. And the music I buy is digital.
Now the exciting bit: This challenge is even going to extend into my sewing! I will only be buying secondhand/vintage or organic fabrics for the next year. I will still need to buy things like notions (threads, zippers, etc) and matching solid cottons/linens though. However, I’ll do my best to buy them secondhand wherever I can. Or I could be lucky and continue to receive fabric and trims from generous people. (The photos in this post show the most recent crafty bits given to me by one of my Mom’s friends!)
I realize I’m only a month and half into this challenge and I’ve already cheated. And not like: I bought a shirt at Kohl’s but more like I bought a new laptop. Like I said, it’s rarity for me to get a new techno gadget and don’t plan on having to buy another one for years. After I submitted my order at Sony, I thought, maybe I should just give up this challenge altogether. But no, I won’t get hung up on this snag. Onward with the original plan!
I know many of you already live your lives like this and I feel almost silly to be suddenly taking this on. All in all, I’m just trying to up the ante—to really challenge myself to get back to a more intentional, conscious lifestyle. And I think it’ll be fun!
*I do pay a very fair room and board! I hate to have people think I’m some freeloader still living at home at 26.
My original March Craft Book Challenge project was from a different book but I got sidetracked by all the knitting. (Which I have been lured away from by the project in this post…) I guess the original project (an embroidery one) can roll over into April.
When I was researching projects from Seams To Me for the Craft Book Wish List Series (another installment coming soon), I remembered seeing a similar patchwork ball in I Love/Heart Patchwork. Now, I know my goal is to try to get through all my craft books by making at least one project from each by the end of the year, so I should have reached for a different book for this month’s project considering January’s Project. But the desire to make this little ball was too strong. Too strong, I tell you!
See, I love English paper-piecing. And it was fun to branch away from hexagons to other shapes. Overall, this project whipped up easily and I’m quite pleased. I’m saving it for a wee baby I haven’t met yet.
UPDATE June 2nd, 2012:
Michelle over at Shee Designs has offered to take over the Craft Book Challenge for those who are interested in participating! The first challenge post is here. Please head over there to join in the challenge fun.
December 4th, 2011 Update:
Thank you all for your interest in this challenge. It’s been going on for almost a year now, but fizzled out halfway through—perhaps because of my failing as a hostess? Either way, I will not be continuing the challenge come 2012 and the link page will be shut down. However, I’d love it if you continued on with your own personal challenges or if anyone wants to take over as the new hostess, let me know! Thanks again and I hope you all put some wear and tear on your craft books!
I’m excited that many of you are showing an interest in this little challenge of mine! It’s going to help having a little group all with the same goal. I don’t really have any friends who share my love of craft, so blogging has opened me up to a whole community of crafters to relate to.
The Challenge is as follows: Make at least one item from a craft book you already have in your library every month—no matter how small. You can do a post about your goals at the beginning of the month, if you want. Then sometime before the month is up, post about the completed project. Come here and share the link to your completed project every month. Simple as that.
Feel free to play along, even if you miss a month or just want to participate every other month. The rules should be flexible to fit your life. The goal is simply to find a way to encourage and challenge ourselves to USE our books.
Like I said in my previous post, I’m not allowing myself to buy any new books until I’ve used each of my current craft books at least once. Your welcome to add this rule to your challenge if you want, too.
This is my first time doing something like this, so do bear with me! If you have any suggestions or concerns, speak up!
Hopefully we will all be adding some wear and tear to our pretty little craft books over 2011!
(UPDATED TO ADD: Feel free to join in late and adjust the rules/time frame to suit your life and craft book library. Just make sure you’re sticking to the premise of the challenge, to use your craft books!)
THE COMPLETED PROJECTS:
(Special thanks to Gabrielle for starting up the Flickr Group!)