My partner is sometimes amused and just as often bemused by my ability to selectively read words on a page and come away with a totally incorrect idea about what was actually written. I know I do this so I try to limit my sub-par scanning skills to things like Instagram, local news, and promotional email. This sort of explains why I didn't realise that Fringe Association's Summer of Basics was a make-along and not just Karen's personal summer project.*
I've never really had much reason to join KALs or SALs or other craft-alongs since I just like to do my own thing on my own time and that rarely coincides with one of these organised group efforts--not because I am by nature an anti-social person who disdains the bandwagon in general. I am certain that I've been accused of both of those things at various times in my life but these things don't really explain why I don't craft along with my fellow crafters. I just need all the stars to align and by Jove, I think this might be the time, even if I am a week behind. I have the projects, I have the materials (for these projects and more), I have the inclination, I have the ability to carve out some time, and above all, I have the need to fill in my wardrobe!
My wardrobe has been a work in progress forever. I am pretty particular about what enters my closet and I shop very infrequently nowadays. When I buy clothes, it has to check a whole lot of boxes. A not complete list of my criteria in no particular order:
- Quality of construction
- Quality of materials
- Origin of materials and manufacture
- Realistic potential number of wearings I expect to get out of the garment
- Happiness associated with owning item in question
I admit I don't always manage to check all the boxes, but I think this might be an inherent issue with buying ready-to-wear and staying within a budget that doesn't accommodate labels like Marni or Alexander Wang or Stella McCartney.** This is just a long way of saying that 90% of my wardrobe is about basics. Not surprisingly, most of the clothes that I make are also basics and the stash I buy (yarn and fabric alike) are often purchased with intent to make a "basic". (I'm starting to see a pattern here when it comes to how I justify my purchases. Also, I never claimed to have an exciting wardrobe.)
So why do I need more basics? Heh. Well, turns out, that if you stop exercising and eat carbs somewhat indiscriminately because you think your calorie count is still reasonable, you will eventually find that your jeans don't zip up without a great deal of effort and you're popping seams on your favourite jackets when you lift a bag of groceries out of the car. The best wardrobe in the world will do you no good if you can barely squeeze yourself into half of the articles and the other half is clinging to your least attractive parts with the subtlety of neon arrows.
I did (halfheartedly) commit to an exercise regime in April, but I'm going to join in this MAL even with the conviction that I will get myself back to my 2014 weight. (Actually, I recommitted in the past two weeks and I've made some serious adjustments to my eating habits--inspired by reading this book. Don't let the title throw you, this book isn't just about treating obesity and Type II Diabetes, which I have a high risk factor for even though I have a "healthy" BMI. I've been doing this diet for one week and I'm already feeling some of the other benefits of the I.F. diet, such as increased energy and slightly better mental clarity. I will likely have a bunch to say about this after I've gone through a month of this and have a few more data points.)
But I digress. No one wants to talk about a specific diet more than the person who just started it. I think I can just dive into the Summer of Basics because my only real difficulty will be deciding how to whittle down my options to three items for this MAL. That and keeping up my never-ending home reno project at the same time. I have limited space and time thanks to this reno, but I think I could really use a little extra making time that doesn't involve the kind of power tools that can send you to hospital if you slip up. Yes, I have seen those x-rays of the lady who put a crochet hook through her hand. I knit and sew and the tools aren't nearly so deadly.
I reserve the right to alter this list over the next few months but here's what I'd like to make for myself:
- Long cotton shirtwaist dress--casual dresses are so awesome when it's hot and especially when you don't want to trouble yourself with coordinating an outfit. It's one piece of clothing you step into and then you're straight out the door actually looking put together. Long, because I need to cover my knees which will probably remain an eyesore for the foreseeable future thanks to gardening and home renovation.
- Tank top--this almost sounds too basic to bother, but I'm very fond of a tank top and my main purpose in including this item is to finally draft a basic pattern that I will want to use again and again. I think this could be either a knitting or sewing project. I have both fabric and yarn that would work.
- Summer pants--covers my knees, loose and lightweight, and so blatantly missing from my wardrobe. I've been wearing jeans the last two summers when I'm not in work clothes. You'd think I enjoy suffering.
- Swing project: wool gloves--I have been in need of a pair of wool gloves for years, ever since I wore through my old hand-knit pair. Could I buy them? Sure. Could I knit them? I wouldn't have them any other way.
*I've lately started using IG as a sort of blog aggregator to cut down my surfing time so I follow Karen's IG feed as well as those of many others who have blogs I like keeping up with, but it's a purely pictorial interface because I rarely stop to read beyond the first snippet if at all. On the one hand, I'm saving time, on the other, I'm probably missing the more interesting part of the content
**I would sigh deeply here, but I'm actually quite content with my lot in life. I love beautifully made things, but there is a lot of beauty to be had that doesn't cost what a Marni coat or Alexander Wang boots would command