This blogging business has meant having to put words to the thoughts I'm having around my making. Over time that means I've got more conscious and that consciousness has brought such joy. Ideas are breeding more ideas, leading to change that's resulted in increased satisfaction with the products I'm making. I am creating the things I really want to make, rather than making things based on the whims of the day. By slowing down and getting thoughtful I'm spending the time getting it right rather than getting it done.
One area where this is most true is about my own wardrobe. A consciousness raising has occurred over the last two years when it comes to what I own and what I wear. It started with the why all crafters need a visual diary post - seeing that my clothes pinterest page (which clearly demonstrated the aesthetic I liked) looked nothing like my actual wardrobe (where I often got stuck thinking I had nothing to wear), set me on a path about changing that situation. I started consciously filling the gaps with things that fitted the aesthetic I liked. On top of that, being away for six months last year, and living out of a small bag, lead to the start of Stash Less. Stash Less has lead to me finally using the "special" fabrics I was hoarding because of their specialness - which has lead to that specialness being part of my everyday wardrobe rather than an unseen piece of fabric in my stash. Then late last year I spoke about some of these ideas on the Woolful podcast I took part in. And again the very act of putting words to my thoughts helped me to clarify what it is that is important to me. Trying to be conscious and intentional about my making but also about my handmade wardrobe.
Eighteen days in to Me Made May, and I want to say I've learnt more than I thought I would. The act of taking a photo everyday for MMM, and the fact that I've had to go through my handmade wardrobe in order to showcase it, has lead to me seeing my wardrobe differently. I've learnt that I have a lot of clothes I like, that make me feel good. Which is great. It wasn't the case a few years ago. While I think I may only have a day or two of unseen handmade clothing left before I start to repeat pieces, but the fact that I have already had eighteen days worth of different handmade clothing leads me to believe that I have enough clothes.
Enough is a another concept I keep thinking about. Consciously consuming and consciously creating are my current focus, but what about enough? Creating for the sake of creating doesn't lead to happiness for me. It leads to excess, which in turn doesn't feel satisfying. And MMM has clearly shown me that I have enough already.
So given that I now understand my wardrobe better, and that I can clearly see I have enough, these days I'm trying not to make clothes on a whim. I try to look for gaps and consciously plan what I make; to really understand how something will fit in and make based on an a need*. Which leads me to the slight contradiction!
While MMM has shown me I have enough, it has also shown me that there are one or two gaps. I go to put together an outfit only to discover that I don't have anything to go with a top in cold weather. Or that I can see from my Pinterest page that my first love is frocks and yet I only have one or two. Or I am going out for dinner and have nothing but cardigans to wear with the going-out tops.
One such gap is a garment that I mention in the original Visual Diary post (from nearly two years ago) that I haven't managed to fill yet. A longish, simple, light-coloured, boyfriend style slouchy-ish cardy that means all my tops can be worn in winter. Many or most of my cardigans and jumpers are autumn/spring 3/4 sleeve numbers and while sleeves help solve it, they don't totally solve the problem when things get chilly in sunny Melbourne. Figuring this out through participating in MMM has changed the order of my knitting queue so that I've started it. Knowing that I've wanted something like this for about two years, I have been able to hone my idea of what it should be.
After two years I know exactly what it needs to be! - A warm plain Jane cardigan in a light neutral colour that I can wear with all the pretty tops. I'm using Uniform as a base as I love Carrie and know she won't steer me wrong, but I'm modifying it so that it is more like a this Primoeza cardy or this ace little number from my pinterest board. I didn't want white because I don't wear white. And although grey will always be my first love, enough can sometimes be enough. The endlessness that is my colour palette is doing my head in. I wanted something warmer in tone for the chilly depths of winter. I considered things like Beiroa and Bendigo Woolen Mills Linen Fleck but I wanted to truly fall in love with the yarn. Which I did, last week when I saw this Debbie Bliss Donegal Tweed.
I don't actually remember the last time I purchased a Debbie Bliss yarn. It was a long long time ago. Back when I had little babies and buying three balls of yarn for a kid garment felt like a lot. It totally feels like I'm going old-school early-Ravelry when we didn't put so much thought into our buying. But Jules gave this yarn her stamp of approval when she designed her Frankie hat so I knew I would like how it wore. And I am totally in love with the colourway and the feel - 90% wool and 10% alpaca with a multicoloured tweedy effect. I know I will love this for a long time to come.
Another gap I will fill soon is the Morris Blazer - since I saw in on Jen back in 2011 via social media I have known it was the perfect gap-filling going out jacket. Not too formal, but not a cardigan.
While an intentional approach to my wardrobe hasn't happened in a day - it's actually taken a couple of years - taking the time to get intentional has been the key to me feeling satisfied with my wardrobe for the first time in my life.
Have you hit the "enough" point or are you just beginning? Are you happy with your wardrobe? How do you get intentional?
PS. You can see my MMM progress on instagram.
*Used in the a very loose way obviously.