Monday, 17 April 2017

Winter Wardrobe Audit

At the beginning of winter season I compiled my winter wardrobe. I am not strict on having a 10 (or any other fixed number) item wardrobe but I noticed that I feel better when my wardrobe is not jam-packed. I keep all my out-of-season clothes in boxes and at the beginning of the season I select a number of items to put in my wardrobe for the upcoming season. Since I read a book Dressing Nifty After Fifty by Corinne Richardson several years ago, I use her suggestion to start planning one's wardrobe from making a list of activities during a two week period. I find this idea very helpful. I didn't repeat this exercise last autumn since I have done it already after retirement and my list of activities haven't changed since.
Anyway at the end of the winter season I decided to review how my assigned winter wardrobe worked, to make an analysis what I have actually wore and what items got little wear, and then decide what items I need to add or replace for the next winter.
Here are the core items from this year winter wardrobe.
Three bottoms - black pencil skirt, warm dark grey trousers and black trousers that are not that warm and more dressy. All three items are me-made.


Four tops - me-made bow tie blouse that I have refashioned, two knit-work tops and a shirt.


Four knit cardigans - pink, brown, black and dark grey. All cardigans are store bought except the dark grey one. Grey cardigan is recycled Asma cardigan that I didn't wear.



All in all my core winter wardrobe counts 11 items but the grey cardigan was added only in February, so at least half of the season it was a Ten-Item Wardrobe.


I calculated that it makes 33 different outfits. I should say that I felt quite comfortable with it and it took me through most of my winter activities rather well. I could compile a casual or more formal outfit from these eleven items.
There were some extra items of course for special occasions like Christmas etc. I also don't count T-shirts (two T-shirts - black and white) and home-wear. Since we have central heating and the outside air temperatures are very low I always change clothes when I go out or come home.

I know that many people do this exercise at the beginning of the season and I have done this before as well. I still have to decide about my summer clothes. In previous years I started planning my summer wardrobe already in February and for me it worked perfectly well. Since I aim to sew and knit the most part of my wardrobe I need some time to make things. This year I am a little behind but it is still early spring here. Spring is late this year, we still have zero temperatures and even had a little bit of snow today.


Happy Easter!





 My hand-dyed traditional eggs for Easter.


Till next time...

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Beauty, Books and Inspiration

The picture is from my trip to Venice

I've been feeling a little bit down lately. Since the end of the winter after all snow has gone we have such an ugly weather, everything is so grey, dull and dirty. It was return of snowfall for a week, then followed by a week of rainy, windy and cold weather. On top of it the news lines every day make me sick. I am so desperate for beauty. Seeing beautiful pictures of lush greenery and blue skies on the blogs I follow is a real treat.
It made me seeking some inspiration and thinking about how can people create beauty in life when they have no influence on their milieu. I was looking for some inspiration and role models that I can follow.
First one that came to my mind was the Virgin Mary. She lived in the city of Nazareth in the middle of the desert and the family was poor. I've been trying to imagine her everyday environment and how she lived. I am sure she managed to turn into beauty everything she touched.
My second choice of inspiration is my all times favorite "Jane Eyre", especially the chapter when she moved in a small school cottage in Morton. Jane Eyre has always been my favourite heroine, since my childhood.
My other favorite book is "Little Women". I like reading the description of their modest but cozy living room, how they plan presents for their mother and how they manage their resources.
Another favourite of mine is a novel by Nina Fedorova  "The Family".  It has been published in 1940 and I guess it hasn't been reprinted since that time but I can't recommend it more. It's a real gem. "The family" is a fragments of a big aristocratic family who live in exile in China after the 1917 Russian revolution. A Grandmother, a Mother, a young granddaughter and two nephews. They have literally no money but remain so beautiful in their attitude towards each other and outer world, show such a wonderful example of christian love and support to those in need and devotion to their friends. I think this book deserves five stars. If you ever have a chance to read it, I can't recommend it more.


The postcard I placed at my desk. 
A painting by Russian artist Ivan Aivazovsky (1844).


 What inspires you?

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Back to blogging

It has been really long time since I last wrote in my blog. Now I feel that I am getting my blogging mojo back. Partly due to reading interesting and thought provoking posts in a number of blogs that I follow. After reading them I feel a desire to echo back.
During my absence I have had several major changes in my lifestyle that required time to adjust to them. I went in retirement and my son got married. Both events were no surprise and long foreseen. Now I don't work and take care about my mother who is 86, and my son lives very far from me. My new lifestyle asks for a different wardrobe, more casual style, a wardrobe for a homemaker. This is very foreign for me so I need to learn a lot.
Last but not least addition to my life are two rescued cats.


That's enough about past and now about what I would like to aspire in my sewing/knitting projects.
I am into making a lot of recycling / upcycling. Make do and mend is my motto now. There are several reasons for it. Not only because I am naturally thrifty and hate waste but also for economical reasons, as well as for educational reason. If  I don't wear the garment (and I have a lot of these) means that I've made a wrong choice, either of style or pattern or material (fabric, yarn). Another option is that it doesn't fit my current lifestyle. I am determined to have all my garments wearable and to learn to "see" the best use for the fabric (yarn), to be able to identify the pattern that will be the best use  for the fabric. I have already an example of successful recycling that I am going to show in one of future posts. Another goal is to finally create a harmonious and well curated wardrobe where all pieces go well together.
I guess that now my blog will be focused not only on sewing and knitting but also at frugal living while after retirement the resources are scarce. Nevertheless my aim is to live in retirement with dignity, elegance and joy.
I bought a flower today  and the cats have already trimmed it :).


I think I have to sow some oats for them. Unfortunately they don't eat the grass that I buy for them in a pet shop.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Knitted Christmas Presents

Since I noticed that there are quite few readers from Russia visiting my blog I decided to duplicate it in Russian as well. Let it be a novelty of 2013 :)
Т.к. статистика показывает, что мой блог читает достаточно много читателей из России, я решила дублировать сообщения на русском языке. Как всегда начинать лучше с Нового года :)

After the busy Christmas time when I worked as a tourist guide for my visiting friends, I am finally ready to show knitted and crochet projects that I made as Christmas presents. Both knitted scarfs are Kim Hargreaves's designs. I noticed that I become more and more addicted to her books. I like how precise and carefully elaborated they are. Not to mention classical and very British style of her patterns.
После суматошных новогодних каникул, когда я выполняла роль гида для своих гостей, я наконец могу похвастаться вязаными подарками, которые я приготовила к Новому году. Это два вязаных шарфа, оба по дизайнам Ким Харгривз. Мне все больше и больше нравятся её модели, особенно то, как тщательно и детально составлены описания. Кроме того, мне близок сдержанный и консервативный (или классический) стиль её моделей.

Adore scarf from book Misty. I used two skeins of Lanosa Chinchilla (~ 500 meter in total), needles # 5. This scarf is very delicate and airy.
Шарф из книги Мисти. 2 мотка=500 метров Ланоса Шиншилла, спицы №5. Очень нежная воздушная вещь.
 
 
 
 The second present is also scarf but is a completely different one, very thick and warm. The pattern is Thunder from Shadows book. The yarn is Rowan Cocoon, 3,5 skeins knitted on needles # 6,5. I call it Thunder in Tundra because yarn colour called Tundra.
Второй шарф - полная противоположность, очень теплый и толстый. Пряжа Кокон от Рован, ушло 3,5 мотка, осталось еще на шапочку. Цвет пряжи называется Тундра :), то, что надо для нашего климата :).
 
 
The third present is not for a person but for my kitchen :). Since I try to get rid of yarn leftovers I used some of them to crochet place mats. The pattern is a free DROPS design .
Третий подарок я сделала для своей кухни. Т.к. стараюсь освобождаться от остатков пряжи, связала крючком вот такие коврики для кухонного стола. Описание на сайте Дропс.
 
 

 
Also as a part of stash busting made this little pulse warmers. I had very little leftover of kidsilk and I found this mittens to utilise it.
Заодно покажу еще один маленький проектик, для утилизации остатков пряжи. У меня было совсем чуть-чуть кид силка, куда-то хотелось пристроить. Нашлись вот эти митенки.
 


 
 
 
Till later :)

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Winter Knitting

Winter came to Moscow and we have already a lot of snow. I hear often "you live in Russia and you are accustomed to cold", but No, I am not, I like feel warm and cosy.
This year I made another scarf for myself. It is more than two meters long and very warm and makes a nice wrap. I tried to use this yarn in some other patterns but they didn't get much wear so I decided to find it a proper use finally. I work on cleaning my yarn stash and try to use the remainders of yarn from previous projects.
The pattern for the scarf is Heath by Kim Hargreaves.







To the scarf I added a new hat. The pattern is from some French magazine.




More later as usually! Have a Happy Holiday season!

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Sheath Dress (Burda 9/2012-109)

I envy people who know how to choose the best pattern for the particular fabric. I don't have this talent and for me it's always a gamble and the result is a surprise. With sheath dress from September issue of Burda magazine the sirprise turned out to be a pleasant one. The fabric didn't need any complicated pattern to show off. At the same time this pattern has some interesting details like a boat neckline and long side darts that spice it up.






The dress is versatile and can be dressed up and down. No wonder, this apply to sheath dresses, that's why they are so popular.

More later... Happy sewing!

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Gray vs.Grey (Chaise & Asma by Kim Hargreaves)


It's time to sweep dust from my blog. I didn't write for quite a wile without any apparent reason. I made very little sewing last summer but did make some knitting. Since the season for summer knits has passed already I will follow the weather and give an account of winter knits.


Both patterns are from Kim Hargreaves books. First one is Chaise from Winter Blooms. Last year when I was in Venice I bought two gorgeous yarns (I try not to think about the price though). The first one is pure cashmere from Grignasco.





 
It became a Chaise, A Most Classic Sweater, as it defined in Kim Hargreaves book. That's exactly what I was aiming at. When the yarn is so precious the design should be classical and very simple.


Another yarn that I brought from Venice is Filatura Di Crosa Superior, a softest blend of cashmere and silk. It's of gorgeous colour of hyacinth. I bought only two skeins and they are still waiting for some beautiful scarf/shawl pattern.

 
The second project is Asma from the last KH book Enchanted. The yarn is from my stash, a blend of wool, alpaca and acrylic. I like 3/4 sleeves as at the model picture


but in my case it turned out almost long sleeve. I don't know what's the reason, I followed the pattern instruction to the letter.



I very much like the buttons, they add charm to this otherwise quite simple model. Difficult to take pictures of them because of glitter.


That's it for the moment. I knitted and crochetted some small things as I am cleaning up my yarn stash and getting rid of yarn leftovers, try to keep my stash lean and organised. I've also finished one sewing project lately, another dress, will show it as soon as I take pictures. The dress is from Burda magazine 9/2012-109.





Hope the next post will appear soon :)))