LOVED: Week 3 of Slow Fashion October

I have this funny habit of doing things the same way for a long time and then trying something new and doing it that way for a long time.  There was a stage in my life where I could eat noodles and tomato juice everyday for lunch and I thought it was delicious.  I also thought I could eat avocado and egg sandwiches for breakfast for the rest of my life but then I developed oral allergy syndrome (avocado = itchy mouth = sad Lauren).  I also wear the same pair or two of jeans everyday until they have holes and then I put them on the mend pile, where they sit for a very long time or until I cut them up to make something else.

The denim I mended and then tore again the next day.  Sashiki stye mending inspired by Katrina Rodabaugh.

The denim I mended and then tore again the next day.  Sashiki stye mending inspired by Katrina Rodabaugh.

Slow Fashion October has inspired me to mend some of those jeans instead of going on the search for another soon-to-be well-loved pair.  One pair on the 'make into something else' pile I have had since sophomore year in high school, some 14 years ago!  I let out a "ha!" when I saw them but I tried them on anyway (they were always a bit loose then).  14 years and a two-time mom award and they FIT.  Just barely comfortable.  Rescued, they are now on the 'mend' pile.  I think I will actually mend them and wear them.  That is when I stop wearing the elastic waistband maternity jeans.  I am 1year+ from the last babe being born.  Other jeans do fit but this elastic waistband, it is just too comfortable to give up.

On another note I am so glad I came across Katrina Rodabaugh and her sashiko inspired mending.  While in college for textile design I had the luxury of seeing a real deal sashiko jacket.  I could have stolen it from the university's collection I loved it so much.  It had never occurred to me to mend my own clothing in that fashion.  So thank you Katrina, my clothing will be happily and texturally mended thanks to you.

SMALL: Week 2 of Slow Fashion October

I am a small batch maker.  I am trained as a textile designer.  I enjoy the challenge of making well-crafted things.  I struggle with being my own production factory (and sane stay-at-home mom).  I want to make things; beautiful, useful, love filled things that are cherished by those buying them.  

Orah, the first doll I made and Otto, a bear I knit for my first babe.

Orah, the first doll I made and Otto, a bear I knit for my first babe.

Being able to own and buy things, especially non-essential things, is a privilege.  It is a privilege that is so often over looked by us in America (me especially).  We are constantly barraged by things to buy, things we 'need', things that will do any number of things to make our lives better and they are all amazingly more affordable than ever before.  (I could go on and on about children's toys and clothes and all their gadgets but I won't, at least not today).  I think that it is fewer (but higher quality) things that will help us.

Polka dot felt balls that I make for kids.  They are my response to the plastic balls widely available.

Polka dot felt balls that I make for kids.  They are my response to the plastic balls widely available.

 As a maker I need to make things to feel truly happy.  I also need to make things to make money.  I don't want to feel like a sell-out/factory/or copycat while making because that does not make me happy.  I also do not want to contribute to others having too many things.  But I guess that is their choice.  Just like living more simply is my choice.

So I make beautiful, useful, well-crafted things to be cherished because that is what makes me happy.

Since my last post about SFO I have:

  • Cleaned out my closet...again.
  • Simplified and organized my canning supplies.
  • Mended a pair of jeans (only to have them tear again the next day).
  • Began sorting through my 'mend' and 'make into something else' piles.
  • I have procrastinated on production of dolls to do all of the above. eek.

Slow Fashion October & Cancer

I came across Slow Fashion October (SFO) via this post on The Have Company Blog.  It resonated with me immediately and I knew I wanted to be in on the discussion.  My path on this more conscious consumption of clothing (or pretty much anything) has been a journey as long as my life.  I could go back to learning to crochet as a young child or even learning to spin wool into yarn when I was 15 or comment on our house currently being littered with children's (fill in the blank)....but that is too long of a time frame to write about here, when truly this all came to a head for me this summer.

The silo on the land I grew up on.  My Dad tried to knock it down with a sledge hammer once.

The silo on the land I grew up on.  My Dad tried to knock it down with a sledge hammer once.

My Dad had a short and terminal battle with cancer this spring/summer.  He went from a yoga practicing, weight lifting, semi driving, woodworking, muscular 67 year old (that 30 year old men want to be when they reached his age) to dead in just over two months.  I watched him spend a long and tiring day sorting and recycling/throwing out hundreds of pounds of things in his shop.  This was a precious "last day" spent dealing with car axels, copper wire and a LOT of junk.  My husband did the heavy lifting while my Dad sat but he was still stripped of his precious and fleeting energy.  I'm sure he spent even more time and energy reflecting about all his stuff, all his "someday" projects and how he would be leaving my mother to deal with it afterwards.

I have gone to grief groups and have come to realize this purging is a common thing among those with cancer.  There seems to be a need to clear out the things that you can now so clearly see do not matter (at least not matter enough to leave your loved ones with it).  I see it as a way of clarifying what does indeed matter.  Having all of this extra stuff around clouds our vision.  It makes us live in murky waters, a space that is difficult to find happiness, clarity and a sense of peace.  It's putting your house in order.  Only it's happening at a poor time.

Miscellaneous things on the shop table. 

Miscellaneous things on the shop table. 

I have been conscious of my collecting/hoarding of things.  I have bins of old wool sweaters, coffee bean burlap bags that I've carried with me on numerous moves for 12 years, a lot of clothes that do not fit or are not quite me and too many knitting projects "on the needles."  My Dad did a similar thing.  He acquired and kept supplies for the someday projects.  His current projects took years to complete, if ever.  He would get an idea and dive right in. He could do anything.  I'm exactly the same only my supplies are mostly wool and cotton.  It weighs a lot less.

At some point this past summer I came across this other post on The Have Company blog and it shifted me.  I read the book recommended in that blog post, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  I cleaned out my closet and have been on the path of purging ever since.  Although I am very far from finished.

Right before my Dad was diagnosed I started making my own clothes.  The reality of making my own wardrobe came to a stand still but the hope to continue it has remained.

Now more than ever in my life I want to create a life that is filled with the things I love, the things I find useful, the things that bring me joy.  Having more than that won't bring anymore happiness or bring me any closer to a well-lived-life.  Having fewer things that I truly cherish will.

This Slow Fashion October I plan to: 

  • Keep on my purging path to clarify what indeed brings me joy.
  • Finish a garment or two.
  • Continue the discussion of SFO and a conscious consumption/ slow living/ mindful living (whatever you would like to call it) here on this blog and on my Instagram.
"I heart Wisconsin" as written with rocks and stone siding my Dad split by hand..

"I heart Wisconsin" as written with rocks and stone siding my Dad split by hand..